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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 11, 2008

Arsenal complete deal for Marseille starlet Nasri

Arsenal's new signing Samir Nasri feels he has all the qualities to fit right in with club's culture of 'amazing football'.

The Gunners finally completed what has been a protracted pursuit of the attack-minded midfielder from Marseille on what they describe as a 'long-term contract' for an undisclosed fee on Friday.

The move could now pave the way for unsettled Belarus winger Alexander Hleb to join Barcelona.

Nasri, 21-year-old, certainly has great potential having featured for France at Euro 2008 and helped Marseille claim third place in Ligue 1 last season to qualify for the Champions League.

And the player is determined to make a big impression at Emirates Stadium.

'I like offensive, technical and quick football - exactly in the style of Arsenal,' he declared.

'I hope I will integrate myself quickly in this team and bring everything I can to Arsenal and the fans.

'I can play in the centre or on the wing, behind one or two strikers, on the left or the right.'

Nasri said: 'Last season I found the Arsenal way of playing football amazing.

'Unfortunately, the team just missed out on winning a trophy, but, in my opinion, Arsenal produced the best football in Europe.

'I was a big fan of the team and of its football philosophy, which makes it so great for me to be joining the club.'

Nasri had announced last month, somewhat prematurely, that the deal - understood to be in the region of £12million - had been completed.

However, with all the relevant documents now processed, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger can look forward to shaping his team when they head out to Austria later this month in the build up to the new season, which kicks off with a Champions League qualifier on August 12/13.

Nasri revealed Wenger's history of developing young talent played a major part in his decision to join the Gunners. He said: 'Arsene has a great reputation and has proved that he puts a lot of confidence in the young players and he gives them a chance.

'It was very important for me to have such a great manager to work with.'

Nasri will join a large French contingent at Emirates, which already included captain William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Abou Diaby and Bacary Sagna.

Former Arsenal captains Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira also gave the youngster some sound advice.

'They both had amazing times at this club and even talking to them now, they are still very enthusiastic about Arsenal,' Nasri said.

'They both told me that it was the best choice for me to come to Arsenal.'

Wenger, meanwhile, is in no doubt Nasri will make a fine addition to his squad.

'He is young, quick and technically an outstanding player,' said Wenger, who also signed Wales teenager Aaron Ramsey earlier in the summer.

'Samir 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.'

As well as resolving Hleb's situation, Wenger will also want the future of leading scorer Emmanuel Adebayor, a £30million target for AC Milan and Barcelona, to be confirmed before the Gunners' start their pre-season schedule in earnest.

There could yet be more departures, though, as Panathinaikos hope to tie up a deal for veteran central midfielder Gilberto Silva.

Wenger is never without a back-up plan, however, and so could move for Portugal Under-21 international Amaury Bischoff, who has been released by German side Werder Bremen.

Should the Arsenal manager need more attacking options, young Mexican striker Carlos Vela has been added to the first-team group for next season after receiving a work permit following his loan spell in Spain.

Wenger is a long-time admirer of Newcastle front man Obafemi Martins and Blackburn's Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz, both rated around £13million, while Colombia international Radamel Falcao would welcome a move to Emirates.

The River Plate striker said: 'I know there is interest from Arsenal and that excites me.

'If there is an agreement between the clubs I am ready to go. It would mean a huge leap forward in my career.'

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