Samir Nasri has claimed Pep Guardiola urged him to stay at Manchester City and fight for his place.
Nasri was one of four City players to leave the club on Wednesday as he joined Spanish side Sevilla on a season-long loan, alongside fellow departures Eliaquim Mangala, Joe Hart and Wilfried Bony.
The Frenchman’s future had seemed uncertain following Guardiola’s arrival at the Etihad Stadium in the summer, particularly after the Spanish boss revealed the 29-year-old reported for pre-season training overweight.
But Nasri appeared to have worked his way back into Guardiola’s plans, being a surprise inclusion on the bench against West Ham last weekend – and even making it onto the pitch as a late substitute.
And apparently this turnaround caused the manager to rethink his stance on Nasri, with the midfielder claiming Guardiola wanted to keep him at the Etihad rather than allowing him to leave.
The former Arsenal midfielder, in an interview published on the Sevilla website, sevilla.es, said: “Guardiola, until the last moment, tried to make me stay but I was clear I wanted to leave and go to a place where I could give my best level. I was looking for a family club and in Sevilla I have found just that, but until the last moment I haven’t been able to leave.”
Nasri is confident he can soon get up to speed at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
“I’m fine, because I played last weekend with Manchester City,” he said. “I am very excited and I hope to do my best.”