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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011

Gunners reach deal to sell Nasri to City


LONDON — Arsenal has agreed to sell Samir Nasri to Manchester City on Tuesday, paving the way for the midfielder to join an expensively assembled squad already filled with attacking talent.

The 24-year-old France international was due to travel to Manchester for a medical examination on Tuesday, Arsenal said before the north London team flew to Italy for a Champions League playoff against Udinese.

Arsenal was compelled to sell Nasri for a reported £24 million ($40 million) because he turned down a new contract and could have left on a free transfer next year when his most recent deal expired.

The attacking midfielder, who can play centrally or on either wing, scored 27 goals in 124 appearances for Arsenal since joining from Marseille in July 2008. Despite Arsenal's failure to seriously challenge for the English league title, last season was Nasri's most productive with 15 goals — 10 in the Premier League.

His impending departure comes a week after the Gunners finally sold captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona.

"The summer was very difficult because we had Cesc Fabregas and Nasri on permanent transfer negotiations and that is draining in the end," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told reporters on Tuesday.

"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".

Wenger indicated last month that the double loss would be a sign of the club's declining status, warning their departures would be "the worst situation" for a club without a major title since the 2005 F.A. Cup.

"You cannot convince people you are ambitious after that," Wenger said on Arsenal's website. "You see about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving — if you give that message out you cannot pretend you are a big club.

"Because a big club first of all holds onto its big players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they just cannot come in and take (players) away from you."

Nasri will be providing even more creativity for a City team which already includes the attacking talents of Spain midfielder David Silva, England winger Adam Johnson and Argentina forward Sergio Aguero thanks to Sheik Mansour's investment of more than $1 billion in three years as owner.

"Money is the Roots of all Evil," Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong tweeted minutes after the Nasri deal was announced.

And Frimpong was dismissive of teammate Jack Wilshere for praising Nasri, writing "Pffffff come on Jack" in response to the midfielder tweeting: "Good luck to my friend . . . learnt a lot from him. World-class player!"

But Arsenal captain Robin van Persie wished Nasri "all the best . . . thanks for the good stuff!"

Premier League clubs fall


London — Premier League newcomers Norwich, Queens Park Rangers and Swansea were brought down to earth in the League Cup after being knocked out in the second round by lower-league opposition on Tuesday night.

Norwich was beaten 4-0 at home by third-tier leader MK Dons, QPR lost 2-0 at home to Rochdale, which also plays in League One, while Swansea lost 3-1 at fourth-tier Shrewsbury.

Sunderland was the fourth top-flight side to be eliminated on Tuesday, losing 1-0 at second-tier club Brighton after extra time.

But Aston Villa advanced with a 2-0 win over Hereford, West Bromwich Albion triumphed 4-1 at Bournemouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers routed Northampton 4-0.

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