West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed Samir Nasri will be in the matchday squad to face Arsenal at the weekend.
The French midfielder joined West Ham this month and made his debut starting in the Hammers’ 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Birmingham City at the weekend.
Will Nasri start against his former side? Five key things to know…
- Nasri started his first spell in England with Arsenal, joining the Gunners from Marseille in 2008.
- The Frenchman made 126 appearances for the club before moving on to Manchester City with whom he enjoyed his most successful spell.
- Nasri has since played in Spain and Turkey before returning to England with West Ham after a ban.
- And Pellegrini has confirmed the midfielder could be in contention to face his former club at the weekend.
- Nasri has won three of his seven previous games when playing against Arsenal.
Nasri spent three years at Arsenal between 2008 and 2011 before moving on to Manchester City, with whom he won two Premier League titles.
After leaving City in 2017, Nasri has returned to England for a spell with West Ham United having been a free agent due to a drugs ban.
And, having impressed on debut, West Ham boss Pellegrini believes Nasri is ready to push on for the remainder of the season.
“I think there were a lot of things to take from the game and one of them was Samir Nasri’s play after a long time without playing an official game,” he said, as reported by the club’s official website.
“I was very happy with the way he played. He is a player who gives you time with the ball and has good technique and the ball is always around him.
“I was never worried about Samir because I saw him working for so many days in December so I was sure he was able to play.”
And, although Pellegrini did not confirm whether Nasri would start against Arsenal at the weekend, the Chilean has hinted he will be involved at some point.
He added: “He will now be considered in different games and the next one is Arsenal.
“We don’t know if he will start or be on the bench but now he has demonstrated that he is back and he will continue to improve his performances as he plays more games.”
No love lost between Nasri and Arsenal
When Nasri left Arsenal for Manchester City in 2011, fans of the club did not take the transfer well, believing the Frenchman had moved on for money.
Some went as far as to call Nasri a snake, something the midfielder would later admit changed his views on Arsenal.
Speaking in 2016, Nasri said: “Manchester City were a better team – that’s why I went there. It was my ambition, not because of the money.
“Whether you’re a fan or not, people should understand that, if a bigger company calls you, if you’re ambitious you’re going to go there.
“I had so much love for this club because the fans were amazing towards me then after when I saw all of that [Arsenal fans’ anger towards Nasri] I became a little hateful because I was like ‘come on, why are they doing this? I haven’t done anything wrong to them’ and it became this relationship, from love to hate.
“It’s a bit sad because I spent three amazing years there – they brought me from Marseille and Arsene Wenger was like a father figure to me, he did everything for me. I’m still on really good terms with him but it’s sad to have this relationship now with the club.”