MANCHESTER, United Kingdom August 25 – Samir Nasri admits he was relieved to finally join Manchester City after the France star completed his long-awaited escape from Arsenal.
Nasri’s £24 million switch to Eastlands was sealed on Wednesday after he passed a medical and he is likely to go straight into Roberto Mancini’s squad for Sunday’s Premier League match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
The 24-year-old had been made to wait several weeks to leave Arsenal as Gunners boss Arsene Wenger fought to hold onto him and the former Marseille star admitted he was frustrated that it took so long.
City had been chasing Nasri for several months but the transfer looked as though it might stall when Mancini warned Wenger that he could pull out of the deal if Nasri featured in Wednesday’s Champions League tie against Udinese as that would stop him playing for City in the competition.
However, Wenger had already reluctantly accepted that he had to sell an unsettled player with only one year left on his contract.
“It is a big relief. It was a long negotiation and discussion between the two clubs and now I am finally a City player. That is what I wanted from the start. I’m really happy,” Nasri told City’s website.
“I was a little bit frustrated because I said to the manager (Wenger) I wanted to leave. I stayed for the whole pre-season, but I wanted to do the pre-season with Manchester, so then I can know my team-mates a little more.
“I was a bit frustrated. It is a big day for me. It is a new start and I’m looking forward to doing it.”
Nasri had been the target for abuse from Arsenal fans angry at his decision to leave and he was quick to take the opportunity to claim City’s supporters were far more passionate than the Gunners’ faithful.
“The (City) fans are really passionate. It reminds me a little of Marseille. Arsenal have good fans but not so passionate since they moved to the Emirates from Highbury,” he said.
“I remember when we lost 3-0 at City the crowd was amazing. That is what I want when I play football.”
Nasri, who scored 15 goals and earned a nomination for PFA Player of the Year last season, is expected to double his wages as City’s Abu Dhabi-based owners take their spending since the end of last season to over £70 million.
Mancini splashed out £38 million on club record signing Sergio Aguero, while he had already raided Arsenal to sign French left-back Gael Clichy for £7 million and also bought Montenegro defender Stefan Savic for £6 million.
“He’s a fantastic player because he has technique, he has mentality,” Mancini added.
“I knew him when he played for Marseille. I followed him when I was at Inter and we wanted to take him five years ago.
“But I think in the last few years in the Premier League he’s improved a lot. Now I think he’s a top player.”
Nasri admitted he talked to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, now City’s football development executive, before agreeing the move.
“It was important to have advice from people who know the club well and know the difference between Arsenal and Manchester City,” he said.
“Patrick is a legend in France. When a player like this tells you Manchester City is the place to be, that it is the club of the future and wants to win everything, you have to listen to this.
“I am here to play football and to win titles, not for the sun or things like that.”
Nasri’s departure is another massive blow for Wenger, who was forced to sell captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona last week after accepting defeat in his battle to persuade the Spaniard to ignore the overtures from his home-town club.
Wenger desperately needs new recruits to improve several weak spots in his squad and moves for Bolton defender Gary Cahill and Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila said to be high on his agenda, but he has just seven days until the transfer window shuts.