Manchester City: Samir Nasri Deserves to Start for Sky Blues Against Newcastle
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Manchester City has the sorts of problems many clubs would love to have.
Ordinarily, when a football manager says he wants to have two starters ready to go at every position, the assembled media shrug and yawn. Who doesn't want to have absurd depth? For most clubs, though, that sort of excess is not realistic.
City, of course, is atypical in that regard.
So Manuel Pellegrini's declaration that "we need two players for each position and that's what we are looking or and I'm sure we will get them," per Arthur Virgo of Goal.com, is not idle manager-speak.
Pellegrini has the inconceivable financial backing of Sheikh Mansour behind his words, so when he talks this way, he is telling the truth.
Which is where the trouble starts.
For those lottery-level sums, City got two Premier League goals from Nasri last season.
Why, then, does Nasri deserve to start the season for the Sky Blues against Newcastle United?
The answer relies on how to define the word "deserve."
On the strength of Nasri's 2012-13 season, he certainly does not deserve to do much more than spell players like Jesus Navas and David Silva.
But the sullen displays and shoddy play Nasri uncorked under Roberto Mancini have become distant memories with Pellegrini now running what he hopes will be Manchester's greatest show on turf.
As Ian Ladyman reported for the Daily Mail, "Pellegrini has made it clear he thinks Nasri has something to offer" as he prepares to chase down Manchester United, Chelsea and the rest of the Premier League.
For his part, Nasri has admitted that Mancini's criticism and City's struggles led to "several moments of doubt and reassessment," per Sky Sports.
That sad song has been replaced by happier notes from the French international, who speaks glowingly of Pellegrini, via Richard Jolly of ESPNFC.com: "He is someone who talks with the players and it is good for the players to know exactly what he is doing right or wrong."
Right, so all of this is hot air, the only thing that matters is production on the pitch, and why should Pellegrini trust a player who cost City a derby last season anyway?
Because if City is ever going to see a return on its eight-figure investment in Nasri, now seems to be the time to draw that return out of him.
Nasri is but 26 years of age, still well in the prime of his career.
He is not that far removed from being Arsenal's second-leading scorer behind some guy named Robin van Persie.
He is not injured, he is saying what he should be saying and his play over the summer friendlies suggests that Nasri is ready to contribute. Perhaps meaningfully.
And that, friends, is why Samir Nasri deserves to start in Monday's tilt with Newcastle United.
If Pellegrini can restore Nasri's magic touch in midfield, City may find that one of its best summer acquisitions was on its roster all along.
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