How much is Arsenal missing Na$ri?
The departure of Nasri at the end of August last year was used by many journalists, and plenty of fellow Gooners, as evidence that Arsenal had become a selling-club and was no longer ambitious enough to compete for the top prices. Seven months on, after a rollercoaster ride of a transitional season so far, it is becoming apparent the sale of Nasri was actually very good business for Arsenal after all.
Wenger was desperate to keep hold of Nasri last summer: losing Fabregas and Nasri at the same time, was far from ideal. Nasri had shown glimpses of his potential at Arsenal, but it was clear to most of us he was no replacement for the Spanish Maestro. The vacant role of advanced midfielder – the one who orchestrates our attacks and dictates play – was meant to be filled by Wilshere or Ramsey, with Rosicky and Diaby as suitable back-up. Wilshere suffered a long-term injury, and it is gradually becoming clear that Ramsey would fit better in a deeper role – the one currently occupied by our new Spanish hero: Arteta. Rosicky has recently found his best form again and has played a big part in our resurgence into the top-4 since February. Diaby…same old story, I am afraid.
The few times Nasri had played in this pivotal position at Arsenal, he had been ok, but not more than that. Yes, he had some fantastic games in the first part of the 2010-2011 season, but mostly in a wide position.
Having watched a few Citeh games this season in which Nasri made an appearance, it’s becoming clear to me that he has not made any progress since he left us. It looks like Nasri will remain a player with a few good games per season, who will operate mainly at the periphery of his new club – that is, mainly on the bench. He is simply not good enough to play centrally and is likely to be played on the wing for most of the rest of his career: would he have stayed at Arsenal, it would not have been any different.
Nasri joined a settled team with plenty of top quality in the squad. Mancini has played him centrally and on the wing, but in both areas he has been pretty ineffective. And there are no excuses for him: he is used to play in the PL, he has got the right age to perform at the required level and he has been fit since he joined the Etihad Oil Refinery (courtesy of Rocky Lives).
Despite of all this, he has had a mediocre season so far. In fact, compared to our three wingers at the club: Walcott, Gervinho and the The Ox, he is performing worst of all of them. In the end, that is where he left a vacancy: on the wing, and in order to answer the question of this post, he needs to be compared to our current wingers:
|Games played this season||Goals Scored||Assists||Goals/Assists per game this season||Career average per game|
Nasri was sold for £22m.Gervinho (£10.6m) and the Ox (£12m) were bought in return. Despite the fact that Gervinho and the Ox are playing their first season in the PL, and have had to find their way in an unsettled team that is going through a major transition this year, they are both currently outperforming Na$ri with a better average of goals and assists per game. Theo has had a significantly better season than Nasri as well. Surprisingly, all our wingers have a better career average of goals/assists per game than Nasri too, which to me is further proof that Arsenal did very good business in selling him last summer, rather than let him run out his contract, hold back the development of the Ox and others, and poison the atmosphere at our club. Two players for the price of one, and they are both better!
So, are we missing Na$ri? Like a hole in the bench! Good riddance and good business all round.