Nasri sale would have been a disaster for Arsenal

Cesc Fabregas has long been set for a move back to Barcelona. If Arsenal do manage to keep him for another season, it will be only a delay. That much is certain. But for Fabregas, a Catalan, to move to Barcelona, the world’s best team, where he will take the place in a few years of Xavi, whom some would say is the world’s best player, doesn’t say much about Arsenal. No club can offer what Barcelona can.

Nasri on the other hand, was getting concerned about the perceived lack of ambition at Arsenal. His unease was largely based on the fact that the club were doing more selling than buying of big players. Arsene Wenger likes to buy the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Gervinho, but where were the really big marquee signings? And crucially, a defender who is pro-active and able to hold off those most infuriating of Premier League opponents, such as Kevin Davies or Didier Drogba?

At the same time the club has suffered from a number of players who seem set on sabotaging Arsenal’s title hopes. The likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Abou Diaby, Sebastian Squillaci, Emmanuel Eboue and Manuel Almunia consistently make errors which cost Arsenal crucial points in games they dominate, and in which someone like Samir Nasri or Cesc Fabregas may have given them the lead. It should hardly come as a surprise that the likes of Nasri, or Robin van Persie, have grown tired of being let down by team mates who aren’t good enough. The sale of Bendtner, Eboue and Almunia this summer will go some way to remedying that. But Squillaci is too close to the first team for comfort.

And for Nasri to have left would have been a blow to the Arsenal project. For Fabregas to leave would not. Whilst Fabregas is the club’s best player, his slow style perhaps is not well suited to the Premier League; Nasri is more direct, and faster. Aside from that, Nasri would have been the first major player to have left the club in search of silverware. Such a statement would have been dire to Arsenal. Other players have left citing concerns over the club’s direction, Freddie Ljungberg, for one. But the major players to have left have either done so because the club has deemed they are no longer invaluable – like Thierry Henry or Patrick Vieira – or because they are insulted at the wages on offer – Ashley Cole.

Nasri’s sale would have been a watershed moment. That the player now says he is staying for the next season perhaps indicates that Fabregas is too. After all, it seems the Spaniard’s move to Barcelona prompted his own displeasure. It seems though that what Nasri wants is what every supporter at the club wants. Investment into the weak areas of the team. It is fundamental for a club who unlike their rivals, don’t need to cut back their spending. This should be a golden opportunity for Arsenal to win the Premier League crown at last.

Keeping Nasri may enable them to do that. Losing him would have been a blow that perhaps the Wenger project could not have recovered from.