If reports are to be believed it’s now only a matter of hours before Samir Nasri joins Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor at Manchester City.
The French midfielder will be heading to Eastlands for a fee of around £25 million and wages of £160k a week according to the majority of reports.
Earlier this Summer it looked as though United were going to secure Nasri’s services with Arsenal even claiming the Reds were the first club -and only club- to make a bid. Talks were supposedly held between representatives of the club and the player but never really got off the ground. It wasn’t long before City entered the fray and United dropped out. A few weeks ago Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out that he felt Nasri would either join City or stay at Arsenal, meaning the chances of him coming to Old Trafford seemed to have evaporated.
It’s obvious that United simply weren’t willing to meet the players wage demands while City had no such qualms, the question is did we do the right thing or should we have paid the Frenchman the money he wanted?
The most obvious point to be raised is whether United truly need him. There’s no denying he’s a good player, but would he elevate our team or simply add to the depth of the squad?
Last season was Nasri’s true breakthrough year, although he’d been at Arsenal since 2008 and had enjoyed the ocasional highs- not least a brace against us in his debut season, it wasn’t until 2010 that he really floursihed. Ten Premier league goals in just 28 starts, is a record most strikers would be proud of let alone a winger/attacking midfielder such as Nasri.
Then there’s the quality of some of his strikes, with the goals against Porto in the Champions League and Fulham being simply breathtaking.
It wasn’t a wholly convincing season for Nasri though, after all of the 16 goals he scored, by New Year’s Day he’d scored 13 of them. The back end of last season saw a dip in form, at a time when Arsenal needed him the most. There’ also Nasri’s lack of assists, he only had one to his name last season, which isn’t really good enough for an attacking player- especially when you’ve got the likes of Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas alongside you.
Would Nasri get into United’s starting XI? Probably, but only as a rotational player, I’m confident that if Sir Alex was asked to pick his strongest side then Nasri wouldn’t be part of it. Let’s not forget, Nani, Ashley Young, Ji Sung Park, Tony Valencia and Wayne Rooney can all play in similar positions to Nasri. Then there’s the emergence of Tom Cleverley, regular readers of this site will know that I’m a massive fan of his and truly believe he’s a future United star in the making. Do we really need to be jettisoning a player that’s shown he’s now ready for the first team after coming through the ranks in favour of a big money highly paid signing, I think not.
Nasri’s Premier league experience could have been useful, plus there’s no denying that on his day he can be a truly mesmerising player. However as Sir Alex looks to the future, Manchester United have a great young squad, that’s perhaps one holding midfielder away from being able to challenge Barcelona, Nasri would be a good addition but not a great one.