Samir Nasri denies he is a footballing mercenary, and continues to insist he made the right decision to leave Arsenal for Manchester City.
The France international was a key member of the Gunners side having arrived from Marseille in 2008, and played the full 90 minutes of their League Cup final defeat to Birmingham City in 2011. That, though, was arguably the closest he came to winning a trophy with the Londoners, and he decided to leave that summer.
At the time he had just one year remaining on his contract, and although Arsene Wenger was eager for him to stay, the lure of City was too much to resist. The Blues were emerging as a true force in the game and had won the FA Cup that season, yet many pundits and fans claimed Nasri was moving to the Etihad Stadium simply to make more money.
And whilst it is true the 26-year-old received a handsome pay rise to move to Manchester, he has always maintained this was not his primary motive. And after helping City win the title in 2012, and the fact they are again in contention whilst Arsenal appear to be falling away yet again, the midfielder insists he made absolutely the right decision.
“My departure from Arsenal? When you leave for a club where there is more money, you are supposed to be mercenary,” Nasri told French television show Canal Football Club. “I took stock before I went to Manchester City, I was joining a club with Yaya Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez. I spent three seasons at Arsenal without any title and at the end of the season we sold our best player that was Cesc Fabregas.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I had a meeting with Arsene Wenger who told me to not be worried, he signed Gervinho and that he will get reinforcements. I preferred to join Manchester City and I won titles and indeed I earn a better living. And why not a second national title in three years? I am very happy with my choice.”
Nasri was roundly booed at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, when he helped City earn a 1-1 draw at the home of his former club. And although this allowed Liverpool to top the table when they beat Tottenham Hotspur the following day, the Blues are in third position, four points behind the Anfield club, with two matches in hand.
It is looking increasingly likely that the key crunch in the Premier League title race could come on 13 April, when Manuel Pellegrini’s side travel to Merseyside to take on the current leaders. Before that, City take on Southampton at home in the early kick-off this coming weekend, hours before Liverpool travel to West Ham United.
Nasri, meanwhile, has revealed he is in talks with City over a new contract. His existing deal expires at the end of next season, but he told Canal Football Club: “We have just started talks so far. We didn’t find any agreement yet. But it should be sorted out. I want to stay. I can feel people appreciate me and the coach is trusting me.”