Nasri: Guardiola wanted me at City


Samir Nasri claims Pep Guardiola wanted to keep him at Manchester City but he was drawn to a season on loan at affectionate, "family club" Sevilla.

Nasri joined fellow first-team squad members Joe Hart, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala and Jason Denayer in making temporary moves away from the Etihad Stadium on transfer deadline day.

The long-term prospects of the quintet under Guardiola appear limited but Nasri, whose move to Sevilla does not include an option to buy at the end of the season, insists he chose a fresh challenge despite assurances from the head coach.

Guardiola handed Nasri his first appearance of the season as a late substitute during City's 3-1 Premier League win over West Ham last Sunday and said: "If he wants to help us and stay to be part of something, it depends on him."

Speaking at a news conference to unveil him as a Sevilla player, the 29-year-old Frenchman said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach was consistent in this stance.

"Guardiola wanted me to stay at Man City," Nasri said "He promised me that I will play but I wanted to leave the club and sign with a club where I can recover my level.

"I want a family club that could give me affection like Sevilla."

Nasri missed the majority of last season after undergoing surgery on a thigh tendon problem and was initially banished from first-team training under Guardiola for returning to pre-season overweight.

But the former Marseille and Arsenal midfielder, who reiterated his commitment to his retirement from international football, was keen to assure Sevilla supporters over his current fitness levels.

"I'm fine. I made the preseason with my former team and I played on Sunday," he said.

"For fans I send a hopeful message, last year was difficult because I was injured but I'm hopeful with this season.

"Last season was very difficult for me on the field and off. During the time I was injured I reconsidered my life. I come to Sevilla to play well on the pitch and I learned a lot in the last year."

Nasri has been told he will undertake a variety of attacking roles by Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli, the Chilean who he credited with having "the spirit" of Marcelo Bielsa.

He added: "Sampaoli said to me that I will play as right and left winger, playmaker and even as a striker. It will depend on the different rivals."