After a season in which Samir Nasri provided a solitary bright light in an otherwise pitch black season for Arsenal, the Frenchman may have just extinguished any optimism the Gunners had for the next campaign as he edges closer to a move to Old Trafford.
The former Marseille player is stalling over signing a new deal, with Manchester United waiting to pounce after Nasri himself openly flirted with his current club’s Premier League rivals.
Nasri is an attractive option for Manchester United – the forward had what many describe as his breakthrough season in the 2010/11 campaign. His talent has always been obvious, it was just his ability to impose himself on games and dictate the pace that has kept him away from the elite of the Premier League.
Fast forward and 16 goals, four assists and a PFA player of the year nomination later Nasri is beginning to look like the real deal – and while Arsenal capitulated in the face of intolerable pressure, United were able to move on serenely to their 19th league title and a third Champions League final in four years.
Sir Alex Ferguson have often preached the virtues of finding value in the transfer market, and in a world where Fernando Torres, Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez cost well over £100 million, a talented playmaker with a year left on his deal and three years of Premier League experience is the type of return the Scot is looking for.
The irony of losing a top class player with Premier League experience will not be lost on Wenger after a season in which the talent in his squad was drowned by the inexperience of his naïve defensive line in particular – but is there room for him at United?
Nani in particular this season has suffered from a selection policy that favours defensive stability in the biggest games, something that isn’t exactly Nasri’s strong point.
And while he is the fulcrum of the Arsenal side, he may find himself on the periphery of the action as Ferguson’s much vaunted rotation policy is played out in front of him.
Ferguson has too many attacking forwards/midfielders at Old Trafford already – Dimitar Berbatov ay find himself forced out because of the same problem, and with Ashley Young rumoured to be on the verge of a move, it is difficult to see where Nasri would play.
United will likely focus on replacing Paul Scholes and plugging the gaps in the centre of the midfield that Barcelona were able so ruthlessly exploit, with Luka Modric and Wesley Sneijder said to be the target of interest from the North West of England.
The old adage that you cannot have too many good players holds true, and a United move may suit both parties (while Arsenal are left out in the cold) but if Ferguson’s previous actions are anything to go by, then he will not be lured in by a big name that doesn’t fit in with his game plan.