Samir Nasri has always been a figure who has divided opinion amongst fan bases. An extremely talented and gifted player, ever since he made the switch to City from Arsenal he has been portrayed as a controversial and outspoken figure. His ambition was misread as greed by the Arsenal supporters who were expectedly unhappy when their star player left for a direct rival. And the fact that he won the Premier League title with City did not go down well with the Gooners at all and the animosity increased thereafter. I am probably editorialising but the facts regarding this matter remain unchanged.
But it has been a long time since and Nasri has won a host of titles in his time at City along with a second League title. But while the French playmaker has always shown his class, there has been a nagging feeling about his position at the club. He has been linked with an exit in almost every transfer window without rhyme nor reason and it shows the player’s standing among the press and other fan bases. His public fall-out with his national team also did nothing to help his image and the tag of a trouble-maker has been unfairly attached to the blonde-haired attacking midfielder.
While he has played a crucial role in most of the major triumphs of City, he had an extremely unsettled last season. His tryst with injuries refused to let him make any sort of impact on the team and it culminated in his name being chopped down from the Champions league squad and replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho. While such a snub would have normally riled up an experienced player, Nasri took the decision well and worked towards his fitness and in the few opportunities he got to perform in the league he looked sharper than the rest of the demoralised and dejected squad put together.
According to the press with the arrival of Pep, though, things have started to look bleak for Nasri. With Pep being a stickler for a high-pressing and high-intensity gameplay, players such as Nasri and Toure have been discussed as being the likeliest fall guys to make way for energetic and fitter players and also to balance the wage sheet.
But Pep has reiterated that the players will be given an opportunity to impress him and the manner in which they turn-up in training and perform in pre-season will play a vital role in their future at the club. While City have recruited Nolito who prefers the position Nasri occupies and the stiff competition on the flanks with the likes of Silva, De Bruyne, Navas and the imminent arrival of Sane, it remains to be seen whether the former Arsenal man is up for the fight and the prospect of another bench role or not. But as Guardiola will know from his time at Barca when they faced Arsenal, a rejuvenated and sharper Samir will be equal to a new signing for the Citizens.