Arsene Wenger has revealed that the development of a pre-season partnership between Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere played its part in the decision to allow Samir Nasri to leave the Emirates in August.
Having started the summer adamant that neither the Frenchman nor club captain Cesc Fabregas would quit N5, the boss gradually saw his hand forced by player stubbornness and, in the case of Nasri, an offer which was too good to refuse for a player in the last year of his contract.
Reflecting on the summer’s events, Wenger confirmed that he had been left seriously short of options once the extent of Jack Wilshere’s injury was confirmed and subsequently reacted by snapping up Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun.
“You want to keep your young players but when we didn’t reach an agreement over a new contract I prepared myself to face it [the prospect of Nasri leaving],” Wenger told Arsenal Player.
“Overall I knew that Ramsey didn’t play much last year and that he would be in contention if he had a chance not to be injured. In pre-season I felt that Wilshere and Ramsey worked very well together.
“What we did not expect of course was to lose Wilshere on top on that. We had to admit then that we were a little bit exposed quality and number-wise.”
One player who was seemingly scouted by Wenger as he looked tomake up the numbers of his squad was Owen Hargreaves. The former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder left Old Trafford at the end of his contract in the summer after two years sidelined with injury.
A decent player on his day, it appears Arsenal were tempted by a cheeky bid, but figured when it came to ridiculously injury-ravaged central midfielders we had probably had our fill. It’s not as if Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby, Rosicky haven’t at one time or other spent at least eight months sidelined at a time.
“When he played at Bayern Munich we followed him very closely but it was big transfer – I think he was sold to Manchester United for £17 million at the time and he only had one year left on his contract. So we didn’t move in for him at that time,” Wenger told the Mirror.
“In the summer, you consider it but we had players like Frimpong and Coquelin coming back – Song and Diaby in these defensive positions where we were not really in the need.”