Despite an influx of new talent at Manchester City, England’s big summer spenders, Samir Nasri’s return from Spain provides an interesting talking point.
You’d be forgiven for forgetting French midfielder Samir Nasri is still a Manchester City player. Signed from Arsenal in 2011, Nasri was seen as a top player in the league, indeed a very good signing for Roberto Mancini’s City. Six years later, Nasri is somewhat a forgotten man at the Etihad stadium.
After a blazing start to life in Manchester, his play became as inconsistent as his hair colour. After largely spending 2015/16 injured, Pep Guardiola’s arrival surprisingly pointed towards an exit for Nasri. Despite his indubitable skill, his attitude didn’t win over the new boss. His time with the club seemed over.
With few offers matching his valuation and wage demands, he was loaned to Sevilla. Nasri appeared in 30 games across all competitions, with positive reviews.
Now, he is back in the North West. As the new season dawns, his next step is unclear. Several other players deemed unsellable were given their outright release. Nasri remains on the roster.
City recently published its 2017-18 squad numbers. Nasri was unexpectedly handed the number 11 shirt vacated by Aleksander Kolarov. A new first team squad number would suggest Guardiola has plans for the French outcast. A reprieve could be in store.
Unfortunately, Samir shouldn’t raise his hopes. With David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne bolstered by new recruit Bernardo Silva, it is difficult to see when he could be given minutes.
The former Arsenal man has just turned 30. Generally, it would be good business to move him on. Instead, the club appear reluctant to let him go cheaply. City reportedly placed a £10million valuation on Nasri. When you add the fee to his sizable £180,000 a week pay packet, he becomes a very pricey gamble for any club.
The risk for any potential buyer is clear. Sevilla may well have been interested in a permanent deal. As is the case with so many loans, a club can negotiate a split payment on the players wages during the loan term. With City unwilling to lower their asking price and the Sevillistas faced with paying his wages in full, the Spanish side may have balked.
At this stage, Nasri seemingly has two options. He either seeks another loan spell, be it at Sevilla, where he played well enough to come away with some goodwill, or at a new club. Failing that, he sticks around the Etihad in hopes a chance to recapture his past Premier League form materialises.
Sadly, the second option isn’t the most promising. Despite being awarded a first team squad number, his chances look slim. City chiefs will be keen to remove his salary from their large wage bill.
Most City fans would double take should his name appear in a match day team sheet. Between now and the end of the transfer window, however, you can be sure his name will increasingly appear in headlines as deadline day approaches. He may have played fairly consistently for Sevilla. Nevertheless, when it comes to Manchester City, Samir Nasri really is the forgotten man.