New Samir Nasri Contract Underlines Midfielder's Importance to Manchester City

Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2014

AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 15:  Samir Nasri of Manchester City in action during the friendly match between Al Ain and Manchester City at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on May 15, 2014 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images

Samir Nasri might not have made the French squad for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, but it seems Manchester City are keen to extend his stay at the Etihad after his superb form last season.

According to Mike Keegan at BBC Sport, the club are looking to extend his current deal by four years, with a verbal agreement having been reached before the player left for his summer holidays.

The midfielder is expected to sign the new deal when he returns to training next week. It’s the latest in a long line of moves demonstrating City’s commitment to tying their best players down to long-term contracts, continuing Txiki Begiristain’s impressive record as director of football.

For Nasri, the deal represents a remarkable turnaround for a player who struggled badly during Roberto Mancini’s final year in charge. The 27-year-old looked shorn of confidence and was failing to influence matches as the Italian’s reign came to a whimpering end. However, the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini and subsequent switch to a more attacking style of football, where freedom and expression is encouraged, has seen Nasri reassert himself in the first XI.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Samir Nasri of Manchester City celebrates scoring the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium on May 11, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by A
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

His confidence and touch returned, his ability to take players on and create chances for others completely renewed, and a slew of Man of the Match awards and superlatives were sent his way. Seven goals and seven assists in the Premier League last season underlined his growing influence, with the understanding developed between himself and David Silva absolutely central to Pellegrini’s style of play.

There’s little doubt that, when Nasri is in form, there are few midfielders in England who can match his skill and creativity.

City’s strategy for continued success appears clear: convince their core of world-class players to commit to the club and supplement them with a strong squad of players comprising experience and class.

Nasri is in the elite group of players at City who are guaranteed to start when fit. Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Silva and Sergio Aguero are also in that bracket, but City have shown in recent seasons that when one or more of their stars are missing they can struggle badly.

With the likes of Bacary Sagna and Fernando already in place and further deals set to be completed, including a long-term partner for Kompany at the heart of the defence, City are clearly developing a squad full of options and ability.

They were still in four competitions in early March before a run of poor results saw them dumped out of the Champions League and FA Cup. They regrouped and secured the Premier League title in May, yet the feeling inside the Etihad is one of regret that their squad wasn't in better shape to compete more aggressively on all fronts.

Begiristain and Pellegrini are working in tandem to improve their options, and the new deal for Nasri is vital in their quest to make City dominant domestically and a force in Europe.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 16: Lee Cattermole of Sunderland and Alvaro Negredo of Manchester City compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Sunderland at Etihad Stadium on April 16, 2014 in Manchester, Engl
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Meanwhile, a report by Simon Jones in the Daily Mail suggests Alvaro Negredo may well be on his way out of the club. Rumours of the Spaniard’s unhappiness in England have been circulating for some time, and according to Jones, the striker is a target for Spanish champions Atletico Madrid.

Negredo lost his place in Pellegrini’s starting XI toward the end of last season after a startling collapse in form, but it seems that Atletico see him as the ideal replacement for Diego Costa, who has joined Chelsea.

He scored nine goals in a six-match run at the turn of the year, but he has failed to score a goal for City since the end of January. It was a run of 16 games without a goal after notching 23 in his first 32 matches.

The club are apparently keen to keep him, but if the player expresses a desire to move back home, it may force them into agreeing to a sale.


Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2014-15 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @RobPollard_.