Ex-Gunner Samir Nasri has accused Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke of selling him to Manchester City because he ‘wanted the money’, despite Wenger’s pledge that he would not do so with Cesc Fabregas already departing.
The Frenchman has become a much hated figure among the Arsenal faithful after his £24m departure in August 2011 which many laid down to the fact Nasri was offered astronomical wages. The 25-year-old was entering the final year of his contract prior to his departure and Wenger famously stated he would not sell another of his prized assets with the transfer saga of Fabregas already blowing a gaping hole in the creative department.
Nasri has reiterated Wenger’s point of view but has pointed the finger at majority stakeholder Kroenke for his departure, claiming the American wanted to cash in on him despite the manager’s opposing view.
Nasri revealed in an interview with French TV channel beIN Sport (translated by newspaper Daily Mirror) his version of the transfer, his lack of regret over the move and also his admiration for Arsene Wenger:
Wenger told me that if Cesc (Fabregas) left, I would stay but Kroenke wanted the money. Cesc was already gone, I had only one year left so I decided to leave.
I do not have regrets. I do not regret joining Manchester City. I want to play and perform. My departure from Arsenal is purely for sporting reasons. When you compare Arsenal and City, it’s not the same. With City I’m playing in a better team. I didn’t leave for money.
I only regret not having more discussions with Arsene Wenger when I left. Arsene Wenger is the greatest coach I have worked with. He made me the player I am. I’m very grateful.
Although Nasri’s comments cannot be taken as gospel, it does highlight a certain issue that has played on Gooner’s minds for sometime – is the businessman Kroenke really running the show financially with player transfers? Wenger has always maintained he is in charge of the various ins and outs at the Emirates, and the Nasri sale was deemed as a necessity with his contract winding down, however it begs the question as to why Alex Song was sold last summer out of the blue.
If Wenger has in fact lost the control over transfers then you can see why Van Persie disagreed with the policy. But let us not jump to any conclusions because of Nasri’s controversial statements, and hopefully Kroenke does not have quite as much power as is being suggested otherwise this summer will be as depressing as the rest and the Gunners will continue to be a cash cow rather than a elite footballing side challenging for titles.