Samir Nasri’s Ambition

Samir Nasri looks set to leave Arsenal this summer after months of speculation about his future. By all accounts he will be heading to the Eastlands to ply his trade for an ever-growing Manchester City squad of mercenaries. If the rumors are to be believed, then Nasri will nearly double his current wages, and Arsenal will receive a tidy £22 million transfer fee. My response to all this? Good riddance.

In my opinion, Samir Nasri’s attitude perfectly represents the growing sense of entitlement among professional footballers. He wants the fans to believe that his unwillingness to sign a contract with Arsenal is down to his personal ambition. The money has nothing to do with his decision to make a move that doubles his wages. Instead, Samir Nasri must leave Arsenal because he wants to be a winner and he needs to go to a club where he can win things. I’m not sure where I’ve heard that before, but I’m willing to bet Denilson has some clue.

Rather than paraphrasing Nasri’s intentions, however, we should at least let his words speak for themselves. Earlier this summer, when questioned about his reluctance to sign for Arsenal and desire to force a move away from the Emirates, Nasri had this to say:

“We already earn huge wages. The priority is to make a big career and to win titles. I am hungry for titles. I play football because I love this sport and want to feel the emotion of winning. … With no titles under your belt, you can’t be in the list for the Ballon D’Or.”

Nasri wants you to be sympathetic with his plight. He wants you to understand that he’s not motivated by money but rather by the intense desire to win things. But he doesn’t want to win things for his club, or his teammates or his manager or his fans. He wants to make “a big career.” Samir Nasri wants to see his name on the list for the Ballon D’Or. Samir Nasri wants Samir Nasri to be successful. In his estimation, the only way to do that is to win titles. And if he has to make £120,000+ pounds per week in order to do that, then that’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make!

I want to make one thing clear: I do not begrudge Nasri his money. I can understand a person wanting to make more money and in Nasri’s case, there’s a lot more to be made. What I won’t accept and can’t forgive, is the suggestion that his ambitions can’t be met at Arsenal and that he’s moving for sporting reasons.

Unfortunately, Nasri’s complaints about Arsenal’s ambition come at a time when some fans are looking for any reason to criticize the club. There are growing pockets of supporters that believe Arsene Wenger has let them down and that the board have failed to deliver on promises of transfer activity. Supporters are questioning the club’s ambition and whether Arsenal really do consider fourth place to be an acceptable measure of success.

As a result of this frustration, fans are allowing themselves to be distracted by Nasri’s obfuscation. Some fans are siding with Nasri because it is another way to express their disappointment with Arsenal. But those fans are being seduced by meaningless drivel.

First and foremost, an ambitious player doesn’t leave a top club with 125 years of proud history in order to win a title. If Samir Nasri was truly an ambitious player deserving of having his name on the short-list for the Ballon D’Or, then surely he would be capable of helping lift Arsenal to their first league title since 2004. After all, Nasri is one of the first names on the Arsenal team sheet. So if Arsenal failed to win the title last season, then Samir Nasri must have some responsibility for that fact.

That’s what so many footballers seem to forget. If the team doesn’t succeed, and you are a key part of the team, then you are indisputably part of the reason for failure. Moving to another club in search of success is just another way of refusing to acknowledge your own culpability for poor results.

Gael Clichy also moved to Manchester City and cited Arsenal’s flagging ambition as part of his motivation. It’s as if Gael doesn’t remember his many impressive contributions to Arsenal’s late season swoons. Had Gael Clichy kept his composure late in the match at St. Andrews in February of 2008, he might have won a title that season. But the player doesn’t want us to see it that way. He doesn’t want us to notice that he was part of the team that failed. He wants us to believe that someone else is to blame.

Moreover, looking at the size of Manchester City’s squad, Nasri must realize that he might spend plenty of time on their bench. But I suppose sitting on the bench doesn’t bother an ambitious player with dreams of a Ballon D’Or.

I find it difficult to understand why anyone takes Nasri’s demand for ambition seriously when you consider his opinion of the squad just one year ago. When discussing the 2009-10 Arsenal season Nasri said,

“This season has proved that we have everything to compete and we have learned so much. I am hoping that our squad will stay unchanged because we are really good and with a year more experience, we can achieve some great things next season.”

He hoped that the squad would “stay unchanged.” Hard to believe that one season later the same player would fail to re-sign a contract at Arsenal because the team lacked ambition.

Samir Nasri was in position to win trophies at Arsenal last season. He was in position to win those trophies in part, because of his excellent start to the season. But Arsenal didn’t win a single trophy last season. And if Nasri was part of the reason why we were in contention for silverware, then how can we ignore his role in the team’s failure to do so.

How would you feel if you were Theo Walcott reading that Samir Nasri wants to be the highest paid player at Arsenal? How would you like hearing that your teammate doesn’t think your team is ambitious enough. Theo scored 4 goals and tallied 5 assists from January to May. That was how Walcott showed ambition. That’s what he did to help Arsenal try to win a Premier League title. Meanwhile, Robin van Persie scored 18 goals and added 7 assists during that same period. What did Nasri do to demonstrate his title ambition?

From January 2 – May 22, Samir Nasri scored 1 Premier League goal and provided zero assists in 13 matches. Those are the cold, hard statistics of a player Manchester City value at £22 million. Those are the statistics of a man that claims Arsenal cannot match his ambition. Those are the statistics of a man that wants a “big career” and his name on the Ballon D’Or. And I would also suggest that those are the statistics of a young player, who didn’t have the staying power for an entire Premier League campaign, and couldn’t deliver when the club needed him most.

During that time, Nasri was a central figure in an Arsenal side that suffered 7 draws and a defeat in the Premier League. He was also on the pitch for all 90 minutes of Arsenal’s soul-crushing loss to Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final. That was a golden opportunity for his club to win something tangible, and he was part of the reason that opportunity was squandered.

The truly ambitious player would look at those statistics and results and realize, that if he raises his game, perhaps his current club could raise a trophy. But Nasri doesn’t see it that way. He refuses to accept that maybe it’s not the club who have let him down. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

But that’s unfair to the Frenchman. After all, he’s still young. When he arrived at Arsenal he acknowledged that he was an inexperienced player learning his trade. He came to Arsenal to improve as a player, knowing that Arsene Wenger was the perfect manager to help him progress. In his first interview at Arsenal he said,

“The fact that Arsène Wenger gives great opportunities to young players is very important for me. Arsène has a great reputation and he is one of the best managers in the world. He has proved that he puts a lot of confidence in the young players and he gives them a chance. It was very important for me to have such a great manager to work with and I’m really looking forward to working with both Arsène Wenger and all my new team-mates.”

So it was important to Nasri that he came to a team where young players could be given a chance. Now we are expected to forget all that. He doesn’t want Arsenal to be a club that’s good for young players anymore. He wants Arsenal to show “ambition” so that he can win some titles. Nasri is ready to have his “big career” now, so he wants Arsenal to scrap their existing model and do what’s in his best interest. After all, Arsenal did what was in his best interest before. When asked about his move to Arsenal after his first season, Nasri responded,

“I do not regret moving at all. I wanted to discover and live this football. At the age of 21 I did not want to leave for the sake of it, but because I knew that Arsenal had what is needed for me to feel good.”

Isn’t that nice? Arsenal had what Samir needed to feel good. At the age of 21, Arsenal gave him a chance to discover and live beautiful football. How very thoughtful of Arsenal. And Arsene Wenger did more for Nasri. He gave Nasri a platform to develop into a better player and increase his value. Samir even acknowledged this fact years ago when he stated,

“Arsene takes a group of players who are not so widely known and makes them masters for all the world to see.”

Now that Arsenal have helped the world see that Samir is becoming a master, he’s ready to cash in. It doesn’t matter if that’s what’s best for Arsenal, despite what Arsenal and Arsene Wenger clearly did for Nasri.

Just three short seasons after arriving as a developing 21 year old who wanted to “discover and live beautiful football,” Samir Nasri believes he is worthy of being the highest paid player at his club. He wants his big money contract now and he’s going to do whatever it takes to get it. Even if that means holding his existing club for ransom, lying to its fans, and betraying the man who gave him his chance to shine on the big stage.

Some fans blame Arsenal for Nasri’s current contract situation. But what should the club have done? Should they have renegotiated Nasri’s contract last summer? At that time, they were talking to a player who had been at the club for 2 seasons, playing less than 30 league matches each campaign, and having totaled 8 league goals. It would’ve been irresponsible to reward a player with a massive contract after two such seasons. He had hardly shown the dependability and world-class productivity that a hefty contract demands.

Samir Nasri’s contract situation and his eventual departure from the club are simply consequences of the player’s attitude. No matter what he says about the sporting reasons for his move, he has orchestrated an outcome that suits him financially. His words and his actions belie his selfishness. I’m sure you’d get plenty of agreement from William Gallas or even Raymond Domenech who gave Nasri his first France call-up but then dropped him from the 2010 World Cup squad.

However, the most convincing argument against Nasri’s claims about ambition comes from the player himself. Remember, that this is a player who is asking you to believe he wants to move to Manchester City because he respects their ambition more than Arsenal’s. But if he respects the way they run their club so much, then why did he say this just one year ago:

“I think we have more merit as a club than those who have built their teams with millions of pounds whereas Arsenal have brought in young footballers, who have come here to play a certain kind of football and who have developed.”

This time, he’s hit the nail on the head. Arsenal are deserving of more credit as a club because of the way they are run. Because they bring in young players and develop them into “masters for all the world to see.” Nasri is correct. And it’s good of him to notice.

Frankly, Samir Nasri doesn’t care what Arsenal do in the transfer market. Last summer he said Arsenal should sign Chamakh. This summer he was supposedly recommending Gervinho to the club. But those signings didn’t make a bit of difference in his behavior.

Samir Nasri just really really likes money and Manchester City is going to give him a lot of it. That’s the way the world works and it would be naive to pretend otherwise. But spare me the sympathy for the poor millionaire footballer who just wants his club to show some ambition so he can achieve all his personal goals. It’s utter nonsense. I can understand why Nasri would want to go to City, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I say, let’s sell Samir Nasri to Manchester City for £22 million. It’s highway robbery for a player that has hardly proved he’s worth that kind of fee. Once he’s gone, maybe Nasri can ask Emmanuel Adebayor what it’s like leaving Arsenal for a big payday after one good season.

Or Matthieu Flammini.

Or Alex Hleb.

That’s quite an ambitious list he’s joining.

About Yankee Gunner

Loyal Arsenal Supporter, Obscure Television Personality
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25 Responses to Samir Nasri’s Ambition

  1. gunnerific says:

    I think Nasri is right in some respect. Arsene need to show ambition a little bit. Sell Cesc, Keep Nasri, sign Mata, Cahill and Samba. I’m kind of tired seeing United, Chelsea,and now City winning trophies. I’m tired of just winning th style and financial side. It’s time to pay or go away for Arsene. Up the Gunners!

    • DB10 says:

      Sell Cesc, Keep Nasri? Are you high? One is an overrarted 3 month wonder we’re lucky to possibly getting over 20 million for who is going to bugger off wehn he doesn’t sign a new contract in 6 months anyway. Nasri can bugger off, keep Cesc, buy Mata. Better squad overall.

  2. Jollz says:

    What a great read I feel the same way. Stop the double talk Samir just come out and say Show Me The Money. Then every one will realize what a cunt you are for lying to fans that sang their hearts out to a tune with your name all over it

  3. shreysudan says:

    Brilliant article mate!!

  4. Agree with parts, disagree with others.

    A lot of players would rather be on the bench of Barcelona and be guaranteed victory than be a part of a team that struggles for trophies. It’s human nature. Go see how many Barcelona fans the world has.

    The enjoyable part of football is the unpredictable nature of it, the ups and downs, trials, tribulations and triumphs. That’s for some fans.

    For others, it’s just winning. The “why would I support a team that doesn’t win” mentality is huge. People mock Gerrard for having never won a premier league title, something even Michael Owen 2010 and Wes Brown have won. For them, Gerrard in Liverpool is a waste of talent and he should’ve gone somewhere else to win.

    Nasri feels the same. He wants to win, Arsenal FC is not interested in winning. They have shown that in action in the market by refusing to reinforce in needed positions and buying for the future and in words, such as when Arsene declared that he would gladly take 2nd and CL qualification for 20 years, whereas most fans would take any of the following scenarios –

    1st and fail to qualify to CL due to overspending.
    Winning CL and finishing 17th
    Two cups and a 5th finish.

    Arsenal is a successful business club and the board’s only interest is continuous profits. In business, 2nd, 3rd and even 17th place is successful, just as Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway, KFC and others are also successful, despite not being number one. In football, 2nd is nothing. Wenger is under no pressure from the board not because they’re all stupid, but because they’re all smart and know that he’s the best man for the job.

    In a way, he’s the opposite of Mancini, who is a mediocre coach with negative tactics (“I like 1-0 wins”) who spends too much money to make a team of rebels who probably only win through subtle and incremental disobedience of his instructions as they try to actually cross the halfway line and attack.

    The thing is, in the long run, people will think he’s not just a good coach, but a great one. The same will happen to Nasri. He will be judged by what he wins and not how he played depending on the circumstances.

    You mention Adebayor and some other post-Arsenal failures, but both city and Adebayor have won more trophies than Arsenal, and although his career looks to be in doubt, his performances haven’t changed, his salary definitely increased and Arsenal haven’t really replaced him. Chamakh is probably the worst starting striker in a top 4 team, Walcott is played on the wing, Bendtner looks on his way out, Arshavin doesn’t want to play as striker….

    What Arsenal needs is someone like Gerrard who would rally the whole team to victory. The Istanbul match is a much cited example, but the Europa league game Gerrard vs Napoli is a better example.

    Arsenal does not have one player who could do that. Half the team complains of playing out of their preferred positions or acquiesces to that, only to the fury of fans – from Fabregas, Arshavin, Walcott, Nasri, Bendtner, Eboue, Song… Then there’s the ones dreaming of a move to Barcelona or somewhere even better (Bendtner)… Until WS, the goalkeeper situation was so bad, England thought of calling up Almunia. Can you imagine?

    There’s some players that take responsibility for the failures, but very few take responsibility to guarantee success for the team. There’s a high level of individualism in the team, with many dreaming of bettering their salaries or trophy cabinets. When it was Ashley, you called him Cashley and said it was a one off. But the one off turned out to be a many off, as it seems that Arsenal is producing more and more dissatisfied, individualistic and money hungry players.

    Many blame it on the modern culture of footballers, but seriously, how many Liverpool players are declaring their love for other clubs or demanding outrageous salaries? Why does Arsenal have so many? How is it that MUFC can keep Giggs on 80k and Arsenal can’t keep Nasri?

    There’s something seriously wrong here.

    The whole truth is that fans and most players would prefer successes and crises than years of steady, top-4 finishes. They’d even prefer near-bankruptcy and late salaries like Barca than stability and financial success like Arsenal. They’d even prefer dirty tactics and questionable refereeing with success than clean, professional 2nd place finishes.

    Ask any Barca fan if they’d trade the last few years with Arsenal. Ask a Liverpool fan if they’d give up that night in Istanbul for years of 2nd place finishes.

    • afrogoon says:

      You do realise liverpool are 5 years trophyless never mind never winning the league in over 20years right?if your theory about winnining is all that counts for a lot of fans, football would not be sucessful as a business because there is only one and various teams go through fallow periods….if you had told me in the 80’s liverpool would be overtaken by the mancs i would have laughed at you……this idea of it all being about trophies is a farce and is a result of you not being able to take being the butt end of jokes from mates…..look @ spurs, they are considered a big club and sucessful one and yet they start the season with the ambition of finishing above The Arsenal, a team supposedly in crisis…….if you were a pompey fan, would you rather be challenging in the prem,champs league or love winning the fa cup and get relegated……there is more to the game than just a tin cup…..cups are important but are not the definition of the game…..don’t buy into the hype…

      • I’m not buying into the hype, but you see the direction the game is going. Birmingham won the tin cup at the cost of retaining PL status, Portsmouth went to the FA cup final and got relegated, Liverpool risked losing CL qualification by focusing on their 04-05 campaign. Chelsea managers don’t make it when they have no tin to show, or so to speak. I saw a poll for City fans where they the majority preferred winning the FA cup this year to getting CL qualification. They said it’s something for the trophy cabinet, something that lasts forever. They really wanted that banner down.

        It’s just a different mentality in football now. A there-and-thereabouts team such as Newcastle of the Shearer days would no doubt be considered a top team, but not a successful one.

        There are 4 competitions and they were all fairly open, all won by different sides, yet Arsenal didn’t win any of them. They got close once and were cheated out of another one, but the rest?

        Liverpool fans and the club are roaring with excitement in hopes of getting back into the top 4, winning their 19th title, yet Arsenal, the club, has shown both in actions and words its intent in getting a comfortable 3rd or 4th. Is that good enough? Is that ambition?

        Ambition is wanting and aiming for 1st and finishing 4th. At least that’s respectable. But aiming for 2-4th and congratulating one-self for that achievement at the disappointment of the fans is something else.

        There’s no shame in trying and no shame in failure either. Winning teams are filled with failures, crocks and gambles. A lot of gambles. United had Hargreaves, Owen, a homeless guy, literally a homeless guy, a bunch of old dudes on their last legs from the Beckham generation, a Mexican guy no one’s ever heard of, the Bulgarian guy who flopped in his first season at OT, a contract-rebel “Show me the ambition/money” dreamworks character and Nani.

        And they still won the league. Despite the Rooney contract stuff, Giggs scandal, etc.

        They took a lot of small, calculated risks, in each and every player. Will the homeless guy be good? Will the little pea do well in Europe? Can the old dudes still run?

        In Arsenal, there is simply no risk. You know exactly who you’re getting and what you’re getting. No one expect Chamakh to set the world afire and he simply didn’t. RVP is amazing when he’s not injured, but he’s often injured. You know what you’re getting. Gervinho will be good, no doubt. Wilshere will only get better. Almunia won’t.

        There’s absolutely no risk, because it’s better for business to minimize risk and surprises. But at the end of the day, the other big clubs are like poker masters and Arsenal is someone who buys 10-year bonds waiting for them to mature

        Would you ever see Arsenal go for a homeless guy? Would you see them go for old Drogba when he’s a free agent? Would you see them try to sign a player Wenger had never seen play, like ‘Arry with Sandro? Or an overvalued, declining striker like Torres?

        The answer is often no. Arsenal doesn’t want to take risks because it’s not interested in risking losses in any way, even if it increases the clubs chance of victory.

        But to really win, you really need to take chances. I’ve heard of this club signing some sick, tiny South American kid with a growth hormone deficiency. I hear from time to time that the club and the play are doing just okay.

        • ~Sarath~ says:

          Well Said. That sums up all I knew I wanted the world to know but could never put it in words.

    • Paul says:

      Trophies are important and everybody understands that Arsenal experience problems at the moment, but you are just taking it too far here with you players are being judged by trophies won and all that Adebayor and city won more trophies shit. Look at Hleb being on the Barca bench, what did he say after they won the champions league? He regreted leaving Arsenal because it’s obvious he didn’t contribute at all! Most of the so called Barca supporters out there don’t even know who he is, he spent the last two seasons on loan. The same goes for bloody Adebayor and he Man Shit team, he was on loan at Madrid that time when they only won a lucky FA cup after investing £650m!! Same goes for all the looser players (Bellamy, SWP, Bridge etc) who arrived there to boost their wages and for the “ambition”. What happened to them?! They are all stuck at a club who doesn’t want them, now their careers have gone to waste because nobody wants them with their “ambition” + wages. I bet you that Nasri will experience the same. But that’s not the point here, let’s come back to players showing ambition to win things. Barcelona 1999-2005 – potless. Did the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol jump ship? No! I can’t tell you that Puyol even hasn’t won anything until the age of 28! It takes commitment and patience to become the best player in the world, not some “ambition” to win things at a “bigger” club because that’s just arrogant and shows where you’re heading.

  5. afrogoon says:

    @gunnerific fans like you are soo steeped in your hate for Arsene you never care when someone denigrates the name of The Arsenal.Were a lot of these wantaway ‘stars’ not fit for our ‘crucial ‘run in’ for the first time in a while last season?How many games did the usual ‘scape goats’ play in?It is these overpaid and overhyped losers who let us down and go on to feed their greed and ungrateful natures by claiming something silly as ‘the club not matching their ambition’ because fans like you allow them to by waking up and wallowing in your hate and despair on blogs.

    Fantastic blogging once again Yanks.Keep up with this and you might just become the premier arseblog…lol…you should check out another good blog..desigunner……by the way what state are you in?I should be in the states for a family get together b4 xmas.Georgia,Smyrna……maybe if you aint too far we can catch a game or 2 @ the espn sports bar around buckhead…should be the way can you tweet the link to samir nasri so he knows we dont buy into the gimmick…

  6. zaragooner says:

    My argument is simple: Fantastic player but if he is not committed then we should be actively flogging him to other club..

  7. great article great read very entertaining i want to disagree with u one point yankeegunner and that is about flamini…he has actually been successful since leavin and he is/was a starter

  8. Pingback: On Transfers: The Fabregas and Nasri Sagas « gunners' rock: arsenal opinion à la newfie gooner

  9. Pingback: Arsenal gets Pacey|Cesc & Nasri possibly out and Dann in. » Arsenal Effect

  10. jaelle says:

    It is incredibly naive to think Nasri’s leaving only for the money.
    Fact is Nasri would leave for LESS money to United or Chelsea or Madrid or Barca because they are winning trophies. Hell, even Ade has won a trophy now with Madrid.
    That’s the bottom line.
    I think you are avoiding the reality that our players have given up on Arsenal & Arsene – we can blame them for not taking responsibility for their own role in our persistent collapses. But the fact is they no longer believe in this team. They don’t believe this is a trophy-winning team – end of. I think you underestimate the impact of last season’s collapse (combined with persistent collapses from previous seasons) had on our players.

    • george webster says:

      Are you serious, he could join MU who you surely must rate as successful and ambitious! The narrative is spot on, Nasri is in it for the money and nothing else, Arsenal would be well rid of this “only in it for the glory” individual. I suspect no more than 18 months before he declares that the Man City project has failed and he moves on to another club that matches he’s ambition! Ballon D’Or – never in my lifetimetime!

    • Then what do you make of his quotes that what we’ve achieved means more because we develop young players and adhere to our principles?

    • Paul says:

      Same what I replied to that “expert” above. Barcelona 1999-2005 – potless. Did the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol jump ship? No! I can’t tell you that Puyol even hasn’t won anything until the age of 28! It takes commitment and patience to become the best player in the world, not some “ambition” to win things at a “bigger” club because that’s just arrogant and shows where you’re heading.

  11. JP says:

    Good article. Players have to take responsibility. Nasri should have been gone at the beginning of the window. We need to move on, get rid of Cesc and Nasri, appoint a new captain and sign new players, that can be the CHANGE that can help fans and players attitudes towards attaining success. That should have been the goal at the beginning of the window, hopefully we can get it done by the end of the window. GO Gunners!!! Time for the season now, get behind the boys !!!

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