Most Manchester City fans rank Samir Nasri as comfortably within the ranks of players they hope Pep Guardiola will jettison this summer. After all, it was widely reported that it was the Frenchman himself who opted to go out on loan last year to Sevilla.
Nasri was not at all impressed with being publicly shamed as overweight by the Catalan in last term’s pre-season and with the signing of Leroy Sane and Nolito, many felt he would not be missed.
Some have felt vindicated in that view in recent months with his propensity for getting into trouble both on and off the pitch.
There was the headbutt on Jamie Vardy against Leicester in Sevilla’s last 16 Champions League second leg tie in March.
There are also doping charges hanging over his head arising from an unusual medical practice seemingly provided to him by an outfit called ‘Drip Doctors.’
Intravenous treatments over 50 ml are banned by the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA).
Nasri claims that his Twitter account was hacked with the intention of accusing him of taking advantage of ‘extra services’ allegedly provided by the Los Angeles clinic. However the strange pictures and posts were reported to the Spanish Anti Doping Agency and some claim he could face a lengthy ban.
Nasri seems also to have sabotaged his international career. As early as 2012 he received a 3-game ban for a verbal spat with a journalist and from this point on, the player has complained bitterly in the media about the unwanted attention that accompanies the French National team.
He has fallen out with coach Didier Deschamps which culminated in the threat of legal action by the French manager when his then girlfriend, Anara Atanes, attacked Deschamps on Twitter following Nasri‘s omission from the 2016 World Cup squad.
All in all, a pretty troublesome character many would conclude and one certainly not an obvious candidate for Guardiola‘s good books.
BUT there is another uncomfortable truth that was in evidence as recently as yesterday’s pre-season friendly against United in Houston.
He still looks the business in a City shirt.
He was excellent in his final few games for City before his departure for Spain. He was excellent for most of the first part of last season for Sevilla before suffering a dip in form up to the controversial incident with Vardy.
And once again in this preseason, Nasri was once again one of City’s most prominent and effective forces in midfield, buzzing around, passing penetratingly and generally being City‘s best hope of breakthrough.
The thing is, I don’t recall many times Nasri has been bad for us. He has scored scintillating goals periodically and generally gives the team a formidable midfield menace from the centre and centre-left that the Blues could do with in times when Leroy Sane (who was mediocre against United) is off form.
If City fail to land Alexis Sanchez (and reports on that front have generally been somewhat depressing for a while now) and if player and coach can effect a burying of the hatchet, we could certainly do worse than bringing Nasri back into the fold.
With United‘s reported interest in Serge Aurier, perhaps ‘bad boys’ are coming back into fashion a little these days.
If clubs can minimise collateral damage, players like Nasri can be as much of a thorn in the side of opposing teams as they sometimes are for their employers.
Retweets of this and other pieces you can see on www.boltfromtheblue.live are much appreciated. Comments also welcome @boltfromtheblu