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Man City injury absentee Samir Nasri has had plenty of time to reflect on his five seasons in the North-West over recent months having missed most of this campaign following hamstring surgery.
He has four winners medals to show for his efforts including two Premier League titles, but there is still the lingering feeling that Nasri hasn’t quite hit the heights at City that he reached during his final year at Arsenal.
Gunners fans were left devastated when the Frenchman opted to follow the path Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor had taken the summer before by swapping North London for the Etihad in 2011. He was viewed as a traitor who had moved solely for financial gains while City fans were delighted to land another proven Premier League performer.
Samir Nasri had just enjoyed the best season of his career scoring 15 goals in all competitions whilst being one of Arsenal’s principal creative forces during the 2010-11 campaign. He was nominated for both the PFA Player’s Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the year awards and looked to be someone who could cement himself as one of the division’s leading midfielders for many years to come.
His time at Man City has been something of a mixed bag though. The club has developed at a rate that perhaps even he couldn’t have foreseen and he has gradually fallen down the pecking order over time.
While not quite reaching the level of his last year with Arsenal, he was a key player as Man City claimed the Premier League title in his first season at the club and his decision to make the switch received immediate vindication.
The following year Nasri was inconsistent though and came in for criticism at times from manager Roberto Mancini. His inability to put in a defensive shift was one accusation highlighted in a Manchester derby defeat when he failed to block a shot from Robin Van Persie.
Perhaps his best season in Manchester came in the 2013-14 campaign when he made 29 Premier League starts, the most he has made in one season. Nasri scored key goals in the League Cup final win over Sunderland and on the last day of the Premier League season when City beat West Ham to win the league.
There were plenty of other key contributions including a crucial assist in City’s final away game, a 3-2 win at Everton yet Nasri’s contribution was overshadowed by those of the likes of Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero and he has never really cemented himself as one of City’s key players.
Injuries have certainly played their part in his slightly stunted development since his electric final season at Arsenal. He missed much of last season too making just 18 league starts and he only made one Premier League start this term before going under the knife.
He should make it back before the end of the season, but with City likely to spend big in the summer it’s doubtful whether Nasri will have much of a role to play under Pep Guardiola.
He turns 29 in June when he won’t be playing in Euro 2016 due to his early retirement from international football, but he will be keen to get back to action prior to that in an attempt to make an impression on Guardiola over the final weeks of the season and failing that send out a gentle reminder to big clubs around Europe that he still has plenty to offer and that his best days aren’t necessarily consigned to the past.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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