Wanted by Manchester City, United &
Chelsea – is Arsenal’s Samir Nasri really
worth all the fuss?
Forget Barcelona’s seemingly eternal flirtation with Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas, this year’s transfer
saga of the summer surrounds Samir Nasri, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all
believed to be in the running for the Frenchman.
The former Marseille man was one of the stars of last season’s Premier League and with only 12 months
left on his Gunners contract looks almost certain to leave the Emirates for a new home.
But just what exactly will Arsene Wenger’s side be losing should the diminutive midfielder leave and
what in turn would their rivals be set to acquire? Goal.com dusted off the calculators and abacuses to
"If he looks back he can see that he's come quite a long way with us, and I think
there is still a bit to do. It's the club that makes the player's career." - Arsene Wenger
So is Arsene right? Is there still room for improvement? From the statistics, it appears so - when
compared to the armory of his suitors, and even some of his current teammates at Arsenal.
Castrol Football reveals that no player in the Premier League completed more successful passes in the
final third than the Frenchman last season, with a grand total of 601.
A top effort from the Arsenal man, but in a side often condemned as well as adored for its ‘tippy tappy’
football, just how many of those made any significant impact?
For starters, of those 601 said passes, only ONE directly resulted in a goal for Arsenal. Of course, as the
astute football fan will know, it is not always the assist which makes the goal, as a passage of play may
contain one defense-splitting pass to set a winger on their way, a key pass.
But even there, Nasri trails in behind the best contributors at City and United last season, and even
behind his own teammate and captain Cesc Fabregas, who notched up 61 key passes. While his total of
57 is seven better than Frank Lampard's, the Chelsea midfielder supplied four assists during the
In terms of goals scored, Nasri contributed 10 league strikes - matched only by Lampard, a player
renowned for getting goals from midfield. But whilst a double figure return is a decent amount for a
midfielder – especially one who seldom takes set pieces – placing him alongside the England
international, who only featured in 24 of Chelsea's matches last season compared to Nasri's 30
appearances, is slightly misleading.
Of Nasri's 52 attempts at goal last season, only 41.9% tested the goalkeeper, whereas the Chelsea
midfielder found the target with 56.3% of his 55 efforts. Nonetheless, this was a vastly more economical
return than Nani's, with the Manchester United man's accuracy falling to 38.2%, scoring one less goal
than Nasri - despite unleashing a staggering 102 efforts at goal.
What the stats don't show...
In Nasri, Wenger holds a ready-made replacement for Fabregas should he leave the Emirates this
Whilst few fans would omit one of the pair if constructing ‘Arsenal’s best XI’, both excel in the same
position, and it was during the Spaniard’s spell on the sidelines that Nasri produced his best form of the
Deputizing for his skipper in the middle of the park, Arsenal’s winger bagged six of his 10 Premier League
goals. His performances were of the highest caliber, with our reporters lavishing him as 'Arsenal's savior'
in Fabregas’ absence.
So often Arsenal has been condemned to defeat without its skipper, but Nasri, at times, has shown that
he is equally important to the pulse of the team.
These are the qualities which will have once given Wenger comfort as he prepares for the post-Cesc era,
but now are the bait luring in the big-fish rivals. And with only 12 months remaining on his contract, the
prospect of signing the Frenchman on the cheap is one which few clubs would turn down.