In the pre-christmas months of the season a lot of analysis goes towards which signings have worked and which have failed. You have your Michu’s, Diame’s, and Berbatov’s then you have everyone Liverpool signed.
Everyone gets scrutinized; from small fries like Paulo Gazzaniga at Southampton to super-sized Big Macs like RVP at United. But one player was seemingly missed from the not-so all seeing eye of transfer scrutiny: Samir Nasri.
Nasri’s earlier days at Arsenal were not impressive; a handful of goals a season, another handful of assists, and the occasional broken bone. Then in the 2010-11 something clicked. He hit 15 goals and still got the handful of assists. His play became crisp, clinical, and threatening – he had finally developed.
But for some, being at a top four team and playing every game isn’t enough. When the newly expanding City came a-knockin’ the next season, Samir packed his bags, handed his shirt and some lighters to the fans, and moved to ‘the next big thing’.
In terms of silverware it was a good move as Nasri got his gloved hands on the Premier League trophy. But in terms of football it didn’t bare the same fruit. Again Nasri finished with low goals and average assists, being completely outshone by the mercurial Silva.
Last night on SkySports Neville gave the Nasri both barrels; calling him out on the physical side of his game: “This is a player you’ll see when the ‘ole’s’ are coming out, but when the going gets tough I’m not sure he fancies it that much.” Tough comments but few would disagree.
Criticisms like this were compounded when the Frenchman waved his white flag at van Persie’s freekick. He stuck a toe at it like a young girl testing her bathwater when (as Neville puts it) “44,000 Manchester City fans in that stadium would have taken one flush in the face”.
His diminishing performances aren’t the only worry though. With every move going through Silva – and only needing Silva – and the Spaniard unable to contribute defensively, what role is left for Nasri? Defensive midfielder?
Please, the guy wore a snood.