Despite some initial dubiety regarding the attributes of Samir Nasri, there are now very few Arsenal fans who I come across who have anything bad to say about our summer signing.
The French 21-year-old is having a similar impact on the Gunners as Bacary Sagna did a season ago, in that he’s already looking as if he’s been playing in an Arsenal shirt for years and his brace to clinch a win over Man United last weekend only serves to underline the class act that Arsene Wenger has signed.
But just how good is he compared to the man he was brought into replace – Alex Hleb?
Well, when you’re sitting watching the Arsenal take on Aston Villa this Saturday, here are a few facts involving messrs Nasri and Hleb to bore your fellow Gooners with…
We’re barely in November and yet Samir has already surpassed Hleb’s best goal tally for a season.
In 130 appearances, Hleb managed to find the net only 10 times as an Arsenal player. Samir has scored five already in just 11 starts and one appearance as a sub.
Samir has scored more goals in his short Gunners career than Hleb has had shots for his new club, Barcelona.
In his five games in La Liga, Hleb is yet to shoot, while his Champions League and Spanish Cup shots amount to just three.
Samir has been very vocal about his career at Arsenal and working with Arsene Wenger. Meanwhile Alex is living in the past, with his official website still stating that ‘My Club’ is Arsenal FC.
Now I’m not saying that Hleb was a disaster during his three seasons at Arsenal, but in terms of the natural talent that he has and the way he uses that on the pitch, he never exactly lit the field on fire.
At 21, Nasri is already being talked about as the next Robert Pires, while the mainstream media has placed the “new Zinedine Zidane” tag on his shoulders. I personally think of him as the first Samir Nasri and if he can improve on his already impressive start as a Gunner, he will no doubt become an Arsenal legend. Unfortunately that’s not an accolade that Alex Hleb can ever hope for.