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Samir Nasri finally becomes an Arsenal player

French international midfielder Samir Nasri has finally become an Arsenal player, the club announced this morning. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the club says it is a long term deal and Samir will wear the number 8 shirt.

The 21-year-old has been involved in negotiations with the Gunners for several weeks and his former club, Olympique Marseille, confirmed the deal some time ago, but us Gooners know that we shouldn't get too excited until the club makes a statement.

But the talented attacking midfielder will join his new team mates on their pre-season trip to Austria on July 21st, when the likes of Cesc Fabregas, William Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor are also set to end their summer holidays.

Nasri won the French Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year title last summer and although he already has a dozen caps for France there is obviously a lot of room to improve his game, so I expect Arsene Wenger to develop him into yet another midfield general.

Nasri's arrival more than paves the way for Le Gaffer to release Alexander Hleb, probably to Barcelona, and while I'll be sorry to see the Belarussian go, the way in which he and his agent have conducted themselves proves to me that he isn't in the Arsenal mould, so I won't shed too many tears...

Hleb soured his relationship with Wenger when he took time before the Gunners game with AC Milan to meet with Inter representatives with his agent. The duo tried to explain this away by claiming that they had simply gone for an ice cream, but Le Boss didn't buy that excuse and threatened to report Inter to FIFA for tapping up his player.

Since then, Hleb's excuses have become even lamer with his reason for leaving Arsenal supposedly down to London life being too hectic. Life is what you make of it Alex and if living in Highgate is too fast paced for you, you could always do what some of your fellow Gunners do and move out to the Hertfordshire countryside. I somehow doubt that you'll find the peace and tranquility that you're looking for in Barcelona, where more than 3 million people live in the metropolitan area.

Anyway, as I said before, us Gooners will believe Hleb is gone when Arsenal tell us that's the case.

But in Samir Nasri I reckon we've got an all round better player anyway. Not only is Nasri recognised as a playmaker, but unlike Hleb he's not afraid to have a shot on goal. Also unlike Hleb he's won honours with his club, including the Intertoto Cup.

"We are delighted to be signing Samir Nasri," said Wenger today. "He is young, quick and technically an outstanding player. He has shown great potential with his performances for Marseille and the French national team over the past two seasons and he will add great quality to our squad."

The player himself said, "I'm very happy to become an Arsenal player, it means such a lot to me. This is a very important step in my life as a football player because Arsenal is a massive club. I really hope everything will go well for me here. I will do my best for Arsenal and its fans and I am honoured to be part of such a great football club."

What do you think of our new boy? Have you seen him play? And where do you reckon Wenger will play Nasri? Share your thoughts here.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on July 11, 2008 9:54 AM in Transfers
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