Tuesday 12 December 2017

Wenger takes unsettled Nasri on Arsenal's Asian jaunt

Samir Nasri. Photo: Getty Images
Samir Nasri. Photo: Getty Images

Simon Peach

Wantaway Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri has been named in Arsenal's 23-man squad to travel to the Far East today.

The France international has been the subject of speculation linking him with a move away from the Emirates Stadium, with a move to either Manchester City or United mooted.

Despite the speculation, Nasri has been included as part of Arsene Wenger's squad that heads to China and Malaysia after the Gunners boss insisted he would do his utmost to keep hold of the former Marseille man and fellow midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

As expected, Fabregas, who has been struggling with a hamstring problem, has not been included.

"The Premier League is very popular in Asia and Arsenal are a very popular team in Asia," said Wenger. "Many of the players have never been there so we are very excited about it. It is a good experience for the team.

"You expect to see many Arsenal fans and, from our side, we expect to give fun, pleasure and enjoyment to the people who come and watch us play."

The signing of Lille striker Gervinho has not been completed in time for him to join the party, which includes youngsters Ryo Miyaichi, Emmanuel Frimpong and Carl Jenkinson. Manuel Almunia and Nicklas Bendtner are not included.

Arsenal first head to Malaysia to face an All-Star XI before heading west to face Hangzhou Greentown in China.

It is a far cry from Wenger's typical pre-season routine of taking his players to Austria and forward Theo Walcott thinks it is one that could take its toll.

"In previous years we only went to Austria and Holland as well so it didn't take too much out of you," he said. "It will hit you at some stage but we have just got to get used to that. It is still a long way until the season starts so we should recover by the time that comes.

"I'm not really thinking about it to be fair. I am just looking forward to the challenge we've got and somewhere different that I've never been before.

"It will be a totally different experience and the culture is so different out there. I'm really looking forward to the amount of support that's out there.

"I've heard rumours that during our open training sessions there is going to be 50,000-plus there so that is just amazing."

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