Nasri lauds Wenger ahead of debut campaign

July 26, 2008

Samir Nasri believes Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's footballing philosophy and track record with youngsters make the Gunners the ideal place to develop as a player.

The classy France midfielder left Marseille earlier this month and signed a long-term contract with the north London club.

Nasri's neat passing game and technical attributes should make him a hit at Arsenal, for whom fellow Frenchman Wenger has been at the helm for almost 12 years.

Wenger has been labelled by many players as a father figure, and Nasri is another young star hoping to benefit from a spell under the tutelage of the 58-year-old.

'For me, Arsenal are the ideal club when you see the number of players who have gone on to develop there and have proved themselves there,' he said. 'It is important to go to a stable club, where there is no revolving door.

'At Arsenal, Arsene Wenger has brought through players, he is French, the team is young, and we know the quality of the atmosphere there. For me it was the wisest choice.

'I like their game and the culture of Arsenal's football makes me dream. Last season, I got so excited watching all their matches. It is this culture, this way of playing, which in my opinion represents the best things about football.'

Nasri, who played for France at various youth levels before going on to appear for the senior team for the first time in 2007, is a centre midfielder by trade.

But he is set to be used by Wenger as a wide player and could therefore be a like-for-like replacement for fellow playmaker Alexander Hleb, who has left the Emirates to join Barcelona.

Nasri is willing to assume a position on the flank, with Wenger always happy to see his wingers drift into the middle.

'I have chatted to Arsene Wenger and I am going to play on the flank since it is there where the playmakers are, doubling up as wingers,' he added in an interview with French daily L'Equipe.

'That system suits me. I have played there for four years in the France youth team and also in the senior team.

'The left or the right, it doesn't matter to me.'

Nasri is the highest-profile departure from France's Ligue 1 this summer but he could be joined by former Marseille team-mate Djibril Cisse.

Cisse is believed to be keen on a move back to the Premier League, where he has already played for Liverpool, and Nasri would not be surprised if the striker followed him across the Channel for the new season.

'He is my friend but it isn't up to me to influence his decision,' Nasri said. 'But what I know is that he has a lot of ties in England, he would love to return there and he is a player who is made for the English league.

'It clearly depends on the standard of club that comes in for him.'