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By ESPN Staff
Aug 1, 2008

Nasri relishing chance to shine at Arsenal

Samir Nasri is in no doubt he will fit right into Arsenal's culture of 'amazing football' after Gunners boss Arsene Wenger again put his faith in youth.

The arrival of the 21-year-old attacking winger from Marseille, in a deal understood to be worth some £12million, and the capture of promising Wales teenager Aaron Ramsey has gone some way to offset the departures from Emirates Stadium this summer.

While the likes of long-serving midfielder Gilberto Silva, Alexander Hleb and the combative Mathieu Flamini will not be easily replaced, manager Arsene Wenger has great confidence in the talent he has brought to the club in order to safeguard its future.

Attack-minded Nasri - who can play anywhere across the front line - 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.

He is determined to make a big impression at Emirates Stadium. Nasri declared: 'I like offensive, technical and quick football - exactly in the style of Arsenal.

'I hope I will integrate myself quickly in this team and bring everything I can to Arsenal and the fans. 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 joins a large French contingent at Arsenal, which already includes captain William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Abou Diaby and Bacary Sagna.

Former Arsenal skippers 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.'

Hleb may have swapped London for Barcelona, supposedly 'mentally tired' of the capital, but Nasri cannot wait to experience a new culture.

He said: 'When I was with Marseille, I was still the little boy, staying with my mum and dad. It will be a little weird because I will have to get used to a new life, but I'm grown up now and I am ready to cope with this change.'

Nasri joins a youthful squad at Emirates Stadium, and like Ramsey was swayed in a large part by the influence of working under Arsene Wenger.

Wales Under-21 international Ramsey could have joined champions Manchester United after they also agreed a fee with Cardiff.

However, the 17-year-old has no regrets about heading to north London.

He said: 'I just had a gut instinct that the right move for me would be joining Arsenal. It was my decision.

'I thought about where the best place would be for me to develop as a player, and that was Arsenal.'

Ramsey added: 'I am joining one of the biggest clubs in the world, one which always gives young players an opportunity at the highest level. I am going to work my hardest to be part of future successes there.'

Someone who has already come a long way since joining the Gunners is England's Theo Walcott.

It is sometimes easy to forget the former Southampton trainee is still not yet 21.

Walcott, though, certainly has no intention of thinking he has made the grade already.

He said: 'My main target for the coming season is to start as many matches as possible, and also do well coming off the bench when I don't start. You have got to set yourself different goals each season and try and push on.'

While there continues to be pressure for a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup, Wenger remains confident the future of the club is in safe hands and seems to have an endless conveyor belt of talented youth coming through the ranks.

Mexican teenager Carlos Vela has returned from a loan spell in Spain to join up with the first-team squad this season after being granted a work permit.

'I have been waiting three years for this moment and now I am here I will work very hard to earn my place in the team,' he said. 'Little by little, I will find my place and be ready to perform for the team.'

Vela, who can play out wide or as a central striker, added: 'Arsene Wenger can judge for himself what position is best for me to play.

'It is good to have the option of playing in both positions in case of injuries or if a player is missing.

'Above anything else I just want to play in the first team, it doesn't matter what position.'

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