Belfast Telegraph

Wenger backing Nasri for success

Arsene Wenger maintains Samir Nasri has all the qualities to follow Thierry Henry and become Footballer of the Year - so long as he continues to help drive Arsenal towards collective success.

Nasri took his tally into double figures with a superb brace in the 2-1 win over Fulham on Saturday, which sent the Gunners to the top of the Barclays Premier League. However, the Arsenal manager feels Nasri's first target must be collective achievement.

"We are in the middle of the season now and I will be happy for him if he becomes Player of the Year - but what is the most important for me is that the club wins," said Wenger.

"The consequence if the club wins is that the players have a chance to win.

"I believe the priority is not to win individual awards - the most important thing is that the players focus on making their club win."

Wenger continued: "Samir Nasri is an intelligent player and understands he plays where he can help the team the most. He has become more efficient and is maturing.

"Nasri is only 23 years old and at that age you develop. When Thierry Henry came here he was 23 already and still developed a lot so that means there is a lot more to come from Nasri, Fabregas and all these players, so they are not players who are at the end of their improvement."

Arsenal have been proactive in tieing up their young talent on long-term deals, with a lucrative extension until 2015 likely to be on offer for Nasri.

"We try for a new deal," Wenger confirmed. "I believe 90% of the players their career depends on the club where they go.

"It looks to me he has made the right decision when he decided to join us, so it would be the right decision for him to stay with us."

From Belfast Telegraph