Samir Nasri has had a brilliant career. The former French international made his name in Arsenal where he played some of his best football, but it was at Manchester City that he achieved significant success winning two Premier League titles, the League Cup and the Community Shield.
It was a memorable period between 2011 and 2014 that culminated in his signing a new five-year deal that was to keep him at the club until 2019. But everything changed in 2016 when a change at the dugout saw Pep Guardiola take over from Manuel Pellegrini.
Nasri was one of the players considered surplus to requirements by the Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss. In August of that year, he joined Spanish side Sevilla on a season-long loan and later moved on to Antalyaspor on a two-year deal.
But the 31-year-old has been without a club since mutually terminating his contract with the Turkish side in January following to an 18-month suspension from football in December 2016. He was banned from the pitch for taking an intravenous drip of 500 millilitres of water containing nutrients in the United States.
By so doing, the ex-Arsenal playmaker breached the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules. Although he was initially given a six-month ban, his punishment was later extended to another 12 months following an unsuccessful appeal. Now that his ban from football is due to finish at the end of December 2018, he has begun training with with West Ham and undertaken a medical in the hopes of signing a short-term contract with the North Londoners.
With injury problems plaguing West Ham as key players like Manuel Lanzini, Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko and Carlos Sanchez are all on the treatment table, a player of Nasri’s caliber could be a much-needed addition to the team. Besides being a stupendous talent, his experience playing in some of the best clubs in the land is priceless.
He could quite easily spice things up in a Hammers midfield that has sometimes looked bereft of ideas. His playmaking skills could come in handy, acting as the link between the defence and attack in what would be much cherished by main striker, Marko Arnautovic. The Austrian has lacked adequate service as the team has struggled to win games in the early part of the campaign.
Unfortunately, things are not that simple as the former Arsenal and Man City playmaker also comes with his own baggage. His form has proved to be inconsistent in recent years. His attitude can also be unpredictable. And after spending 18 months away from the game, match fitness will be a key issue and will take time to achieve.
His hefty wage demands present another stumbling block in the deal as he has requested an £80k-per-week pay package. It will be a bit of a gamble if the Hammers splash the cash on a player that will need time to get back into the rhythm of the game.
But if there is anyone that has a good understanding of the player and can bring out the best from the Frenchman, it is certainly his former boss at the Etihad Stadium. Nasri shared several fruitful years with Pellegrini in Manchester before both departed England in 2016. This presents a unique opportunity for the duo to work together again and may be replicate some of that success at the London Stadium.