Short of the Premier League changing its mind and awarding Arsenal the league title for plucky against-all-likelihood endeavour, the one thing that would have kicked the summer off in a marvellous and positive fashion would have been some early incomings.
Wishful thinking, it seems, seeing that a) in signing terms it’s early doors (whatever early doors are) and b) the futures of two very important players are obfuscated – if, indeed, obfuscated is the word I’m looking for. But more on Eboue and Denilson later. [Ed – remove worn old gag].
And let’s be honest: unless you are an Arsenal fan, in which case you’d rather pull teeth from your mouth with your bare hands, there’s nothing as sellpaperable than a ‘big player might leave big club’ story. So here we are with Nasri.
I had an interesting Twitter chat with @anserine yesterday in which he concluded that – and I’m sorry, Sir, for nicking your tweet and using it as my headline – the best outcome might actually be to meet his demands in order to minimise the damage, when taken as a whole.
Saying no to his wage demands now, on principle, would be laudable in some ways but would mean selling him for as little as £10m. That’s a £6m loss (depending which figures you believe – but I read yesterday we signed him for £15.8m) for a player who has improved immeasurably in three years and who had an exceptional first six months of the season.
Looking at this visualisation that @optajoe retweeted yesterday, if Nasri is looking for parity with Cesc, then taken in context it would still only put him in the second tier of European earners (where Cesc is), so it’s easy to see the strength of Nasri’s argument. That he’s gone about things hamfistedly is beyond dispute, but still.
And if you were to sell him, you’d need to replace him with an equivalent-calibre player. That’d cost at least £15m in fees and, probably, at least the same in salary that Nasri is demanding. Tricky one, isn’t it?
But pay him more and it will inevitably lead to a rise in salaries at Arsenal across the board. Players and agents talk. That’s the way it works. And who ends up paying for that?
As for his argument that he wants to wait to see what Arsenal do in the transfer market, well I have some sympathy with that viewpoint. Who doesn’t? But that feels like a bit of a smoothing-things-over PR move having fluttered his eyelids at Utd. He could wait and wait, while potential newcomers stall and stall to see whether the waiting and waiting Nasri will stay or go. Everyone’s heads will end up spinning off with all that craning of the neck.
He’s just a player, he’s expendable, but at the same time, he’d be expensive to replace and you also have to consider the morale of the team. Who else would start agitating if he left? And what about Cesc? What’s worse, from a financial point of view? Acceding to his demands or selling him, replacing him, and smoothing over the damage with the current squad?
It’s a minefield. I need a lie-down.
But I’d not be surprised if he was offered the better deal.