Samir Nasri could make his West Ham debut in their first game of 2019 against Brighton & Hove Albion.
The 31-year-old French forward, who has been training with the Hammers for several weeks now, signed a six-month deal on New Year’s Eve.
Five key things to know about Samir Nasri’s West Ham move…
- Nasri, who joined Manchester City from Arsenal in 2011, left the club following a loan spell at Sevilla in 2017.
- During his time at City, he worked under current West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini.
- The former French international joined Turkish outfit Antalyaspor in August 2017 but would terminate his contract five months later.
- He would subsequently be handed a six-month ban after being found guilty of breaching WADA rules.
- Nasri, in the hope of signing a short-term deal after his ban ends on New Year’s Eve 2018, started training with West Ham.
Premier League rules dictate any player signed at the beginning of this transfer window is ineligible to play in this week’s round of fixtures.
However, because Nasri was a free agent, this particular ruling does not apply to him, in conjunction with the fact West Ham have room on their Premier League squad list.
His chances of featuring against Brighton, at the very least being part of their matchday squad, increases given the Hammers are without a number of players.
A return to English football, after enjoying spells with Arsenal and Manchester City, is something Nasri has wanted and he is grateful for this new chapter.
‘I’m really happy that West Ham and Manuel Pellegrini have given me a chance to be playing again,” he told West Ham TV.
“I know the manager really well. We won the Premier League title together and I’m really passionate about my job.
“Pellegrini was the biggest factor for me to be joining West Ham. When you’re a player, you want the manager to know your quality and want you because he’s the one that is going to be playing the team, and knows your quality. It was really important and I’m just looking forward to it.
“I love his philosophy and the way he thinks about football. The guy is a genius. He thinks a lot about everything and he has that mentality about football, and we share the same mentality.”
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) December 31, 2018
“I had some really tough moments when I was really down,’ he said. ‘Mentally I’m really strong, but for maybe the first time in my life, I cried about my career because I thought it was over.
“I’m 31 years old now and I’m more mature. If it was five years ago maybe I would have some problem with it or talk too much about it.
“When you’ve been out for a year and you think it’s over, you think completely differently after that. I was just looking on TV and I wasn’t able to train, and in the meantime, I had a son. A lot of things have changed in my life, and for the best. I’m really happy about it. I’m just blessed.
“I’m lucky to have a second chance. Not everyone in life has a second chance and I do. I know I will give 100 per cent.”
Nasri happy to reunite with Pellegrini
As touched on above, the presence of Pellegrini heightened Nasri’s want to join the east London club.
The pair had previously worked together at Manchester City where they lifted a Premier League title.
Nasri would ultimately make no fewer than 91 appearances under the Chilean tactician, registering 16 goals and 22 assists in the process.
It was a relationship Pellegrini enjoyed and he’s looking forward to linking up with Nasri again.
“I am happy to be working with him again,” he told the club’s official website.
“He has been working very hard in recent weeks to build up his fitness and condition after a long period without playing, and he is now very determined to return to his best.”