By Atishay Agarwal
When the rumours of us buying Samir Nasri from Marseille started surfacing a few weeks back, I paid little or no attention. The media never comes to know of Wenger’s targets until he buys them, I thought. And anyway, he would probably buy an unknown 18 year old from Africa rather than a player prematurely hailed as the “Next Zidane”( How many of those are moving around at the moment?!). I hardly tried finding out who the player was and how he played. No stats, no youtube, nothing. Then came the admission by Wenger, and I was on the job immediately! The lad seems like a typical Arsenal player, one who plays more in the middle of the park, but who Wenger would put out on the wing, somewhat like Hleb. He’s got pace, lots of trickery, and a great shot on him, but his goalscoring record leaves a lot to be desired. That was my only worry regarding the transfer, although it wasn’t a major one.
My worry now is whether the transfer will even go through. Unless Arsene is really determined to get Nasri to London, the deal really looks as if it’s slipping away from us. A big necessity, especially because we are Arsenal, was the deal to have been completed before the Euros, as in Rosicky’s case. How much would Tomas have cost if we’d bought him after the world cup, where he performed magnificently? Atleast another five million pounds, surely. And now, if Nasri does have a good tournament this summer, his price and wage demands are sure to rocket up even more, considering the hype surrounding him. The boss has mentioned that the major stumbling block during the negotiations has been the player’s wage demands, and a delay in the finalization of the terms can only worsen the situation. Also, a lot of rival clubs must have already started taking interest in him considering Wenger’s eye for talent, and this is sure to increase post Euro08.
I’m sure all of us remember being promised imminent transfer activity when the season was drawing to a close? Arsene said two to three weeks, and it’s turned out to be a false promise. In fact, the only imminent transfers have all been related to players leaving the club. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a rant directed at the boss, but just the disappointment one would feel after his high hopes have come crashing down to earth. We must show more urgency and tact during these negotiations and I think this is where Wenger dearly misses David Dein. Anyway, Nasri or no Nasri, the top priority for us should remain a top class centre half, and another goalkeeper. The defender should be bought from the EPL, to cut out the ‘adaptation period’. One rumour that I’d like to see fuelled up again is the one regarding Niko Kranjcar. He’s got a great eye for a pass and has a silken touch to his game. He’s been in England for a few years so he’s used to the tough, physical side of the game as well, and he’ll also give us that extra option of a right footed free kick taker.
These are the times when I sit down and repeat “Arsene knows” to myself, and like every summer, it seems that we all will need to do a lot of that. I think I’ll be supporting Spain this time, as they have an amazing squad and because they haven’t won a single major trophy yet. Also, they have a killer no.10!
Till then, lets keep hoping, and expecting..