Arsène Wenger admitted it has been a ‘difficult summer’ as Samir Nasri headed to Manchester City to complete his move to Manchester City and the Arsenal manager took his side to Udinese for a Champions League play-off second leg without Jack Wilshere, whose injury will see him miss important games for both club and country.
Nasri was today travelling to manchester to undergo a medical after Arsenal agreed terms with Manchester City over the sale of the Frenchman.
Once the formalities of the move are completed Nasri will be the second high profile player to leave the Emirates after Cesc Fabregas joined boyhood club Barcelona
”The summer was very difficult because we had Cesc Fabregas and Nasri on permanent transfer negotiations and that is draining in the end,” said Wenger.
”We lost two great players and that’s a sad side of the story but at some stage it has to be over, because you want to focus on the future.”
City have reportedly agreed to pay in the region of £24 million for Nasri, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has refused to sign a new deal.
Wenger, asked if the timing of the transfer had anything to do with Nasri potentially being cup-tied for Champions League football if he featured against Udinese, added: ”You cannot think only about one game in the season and the decision had a logic but it is of course, as well, a business interest.
”But, overall, what you want is that you have players who do not play and think they go the next morning. It’s not ideal as well.
”So you want players who are completely committed to the long-term, to defend our chances.”
Asked if it was naive to think the deal could have been finalised sooner, Wenger said: ”It’s not naive but what you forget maybe is that it doesn’t depend only on us.
”We wanted to sort all these cases out very early after the summer, but it wasn’t possible.
”And the pace is not only dictated by us, unfortunately.”
Wenger is waiting to discover whether or not he will be able to carry out his managerial duties as normal against Udinese.
He is set to serve a two-match ban for breaching the terms of an earlier suspension during last week’s first-leg meeting with Udinese at the Emirates Stadium, where he passed messages to the dugout, believing he had Uefa permission to do so.
Arsenal have lodged an appeal against the ban and have requested a stay of execution which would allow Wenger to take his place in the Gunners technical area tomorrow night. A decision on any delay to the suspension will be taken by the chairman of Uefa’s appeals body at some stage today.
Asked if this was the most challenging time he had ever faced as Arsenal boss: ”I believe that’s part of my job. I’m not at all destabilised by that.
”Overall, my job is to give my best to do well for my club and that’s what I do with complete belief in the team and the players I have available.
”I think that’s the best opportunity to show as well that we are good enough to fight for this club.”
Wenger has called for a solid performance from his side tomorrow night as they defend a 1-0 first-leg lead.
”They’re quick on the flanks, so I think we have to keep them quiet, especially (Mauricio) Isla on the right side, who’s a provider.
”In midfield, of course, they have some good players, and (Antonio) Di Natale up front.
”So, overall, we need a good, solid defensive performance.
”But we have experience in the Champions League and that’s a good way to use it tomorrow night.”
Wenger revealed England midfielder Jack Wilshere has suffered a setback in his recovery from an ankle injury that will see him miss the European engagement as well as Arsenal’s Premier League match with Manchester United this weekend.
the prognosis for the youngster is not encouraging and fears have been raised that an already depleted Arsenal midfield will have to do without him for up to a month.
Tomas Rosicky is in the squad after overcoming a thigh problem, as is Johan Djourou (hamstring) and Armand Traoré (groin).
Laurent Koscielny will not play after suffering a back injury against Liverpool at the weekend but could be fit to face United.