Manchester City’s Samir Nasri insists he is not affected by “stupid” abuse from Arsenal fans – and has risked further stoking up the animosity by appearing to dismiss their title hopes.
The midfielder moved from north London to the north-west in 2011 and has been a target of the Emirates Stadium boo-boys whenever the sides have met since.
But having won two Premier League titles and a League Cup in that time, scoring in the final of the latter as City defeated Sunderland last season, he is comfortable the move was the best thing for his career.
“The abuse doesn’t affect me on the pitch, I just think it’s stupid,” Nasri told several national newspapers. “I’m not an Arsenal fan, I am not from London. If we want to be honest, we are players who look at what is in the best interests for us and our career.
“W hen Manchester City came, it was the best choice for me to come here. And today I have won trophies, I am really happy, I have everything and I have a better life.”
Several former Arsenal colleagues have made the same move to City and Nasri continued: “If the fans can’t move on then it’s too bad. They love their club, maybe they saw it as treason or that I betrayed them. But it’s not that. I just look at for what’s best for me; and that’s what Bacary Sagna did, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure.”
Nasri – who has all but confirmed his retirement from international football, having been left out of the World Cup squad by coach Didier Deschamps – does not appear concerned with building bridges with Arsenal fans either as he prepares to face them again in the Community Shield.
Assessing the new season’s title race, he acknowledged the ability of Gunners signing Alexis Sanchez but feels the main threat to his side comes from elsewhere in London.
“I think Chelsea will be the biggest threat,” he said. “For me, Arsenal still have a weakness in defensive mid(field) and at centre-back.
“Chelsea’s signings have really caught my eye. Cesc Fabregas is a great replacement for Frank Lampard, I know that from playing with him at Arsenal. They had a weakness up front so they’ve signed Diego Costa who was great for Atletico Madrid last season. They lost Ashley Cole but bought in Filipe Luis.
“For Arsenal, Sanchez has the quality, but the Premier League is not La Liga. It is really, really hard. We saw that with Mesut Ozil last year. At the start of the season he was brilliant but he found out when every other league has a break in December, you carry on playing in England. We had the same with Stevan Jovetic at City.