Nasri v David Silva - plus Hleb will be better to watch at Barca
Samir Nasri is Arsenal's most expensive signing this summer. His arrival, as of that of Robert Pires - who also joined from Marseille - has been treated as low-key by the media. My hope is that Nasri can similarly become as effective and influential a player as the most underrated player in football in recent years.
I also hope that Nasri can be as good to watch as a player of similar slight physical stature who was part of Spain's magnificent technical midfield in Euro 2008 - David Silva.
I have been really impressed with Silva over his last two seasons at Valencia and given his excellent technique I had little doubt he could translate his play at the international level - which was proven this summer.
Silva is a superb creative midfielder, loves to take on a player, very rarely loses possession of the ball, and is happy to get a shot in on goal. His link up with Cesc Fabregas was great to see and had me thinking it would be nice to see them together in the Arsenal midfield.
But with the arrival of Nasri this is not going to happen. So my question is: can Nasri be as impressive looking a player as Silva?
I don't watch French football and therefore have very little observation of Nasri. Two things however gives me a lot of hope about the young French-Algerian.
First is that Arsene Wenger has selected him as a player he wants - and there is not a much better judge of a great footballing talent than Wenger.
Second is that from what I have seen from various YouTube clips he possessess similar-looking ability to that of David Silva - and I particularly like what appears to be an ability to shoot hard with both feet (which after the frustration of the 'Hleb-years' is something I look for from a potential replacement).
If there are any Nasri-watchers reading this article that can tell us about his potential and similarity to David Silva that will be great. This will be what I look for when I watch Nasri next season and I wish him all the best in the Arsenal shirt.
P.S. A couple of lines on Alex Hleb's departure to Barcelona.
He is a player that is excellent to watch and I will enjoy seeing him in the Barca shirt. Ironically, I will enjoy this more than seeing him in the Arsenal shirt because for all his magnificent close control and ball skills in the midfield area his reluctance to shoot and lack of shooting ability was a source of frustration for even the most sympathetic of supporters, as was his evident mental fragility when playing a pass in the eighteen yard box.
For me Hleb will come to symbolise the last few years when Arsenal played great-looking football but lacked the added killer instinct to achieve tangible success - and now that he is gone I hope this image/reality will depart with it.