By Chris Harris
The France international's switch to Manchester City was back-page news during the summer and, eventually, Nasri was allowed to depart after spending three years at Emirates Stadium.
Since he went Ramsey, new signing Mikel Arteta and Alex Song have been mainstays in the Arsenal midfield while another new recruit, Gervinho, has added flair further forward. Wilshere himself has yet to feature this season but his huge potential was a factor in Wenger's summer decision.
“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 [so we signed more players].”
Wenger repeated his wish that Arsenal fans show respect for Nasri on Tuesday, a player he believes improved significantly during his time in north London.
“I hope Samir gets a good reception," said Wenger. "I don't know if he will play but personally I want every player who has played for us to be respected when they come back.
"Samir improved tremendously while he was with us. He has developed fantastically well from a non-scoring player to a guy who could make a decision. Of course he was an important player here and I'm sure he will be for Man City as well.”Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 29 Nov 2011