Pep Guardiola Praises Controversial Midfielder While Also Refusing to Rule Out Potential Transfer
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has refused to rule out the possibility of attacking midfielder Samir Nasri leaving the club this summer. The Frenchman left the Etihad Stadium to play for La Liga side Sevilla on loan last season, after understanding that he would struggle to maintain a first-team starting spot under the former Barcelona manager.
Speaking after his side's comprehensive 3-0 pre-season friendly win over Spurs, via Sky Sports, Guardiola addressed a number of subjects relating to his side, including the future of Nasri. When quizzed on the opportunities for the 30-year-old to play first-team football next season, Guardiola stated:
"He knows the situation. We have a lot of midfield players, so we're going to see.
"It is like Mangala. That's a decision they have to take with their managers (representatives), but we take care of them when they are here, just like we take care of every player, from Brahim Diaz to Vincent Kompany."
Nasri made 23 appearances for Sevilla last season, before a reoccurring achilles tendon problem and an ongoing anti-doping investigation derailed his part in the campaign. The former Arsenal man is now at a crossroads in his career, having fallen out of favour at Manchester City and with the French national team. Addressing Nasri's situation further, Guardiola claimed:
"The past isn't important, it is all about tomorrow. We wanted to keep (Nasri) last pre-season but he decided to go to Sevilla and I like to work with the guys who want to work with us.
"But I saw him in these three games and his spirit in the training sessions. Still I'm waiting for a bad performance from him. He's a guy who has unbelievable ability to keep the ball in small spaces. The ball is safe. He has his own special quality."
It seems that Guardiola is willing to keep Nasri at the club as a squad player, meaning that the fate of the player remains in his own hands. If the former Marseille prodigy wishes to reignite his career with a run of first-time football, then a move away from the club seems to be the most likely option.