West Ham United are at it again, then. Another free transfer lined up. Another big name. But will it pay off?
Former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri is said to have been pencilled in for a medical ahead of a move to the London Stadium, which would see him reunite with former City boss Manuel Pellegrini.
The move was cast into doubt on Monday night when reports emerged that West Ham were concerned about Nasri’s fitness and there were also suggestions that the Frenchman could be tempted by a move to China instead.
Patrice Evra was the last player the Hammers drafted in on a deal like this. Evra, of course, is most famous for his time with Manchester United and Juventus and signed for West Ham in February on a contract until the end of last season.
Reports suggest the Nasri deal would see him join the club on an initial six-month contract with an option to extend.
The 31-year-old is now allowed to start training again following an 18-month doping ban. He will be able to play from the first day of next year. His most recent club was Turkish side Antalyaspor, but his contract expired on January 31, 2018.
It’s a risk, but one that it seems West Ham and Manuel Pellegrini are prepared to take. Here are the winners and losers if Samir Nasri does complete a move to East London.
Winner: Samir Nasri
Another chance in the Premier League, another opportunity to play under the manager with whom he won the title. After everything that’s happened, Nasri would be a lucky boy if this deal went through.
It was February of this year when the midfielder was handed a six-month doping ban after breaching the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Nasri is said to have received intravenous treatment at a Los Angeles clinic whilst on holiday in December 2016. At the time, he was on loan at Sevilla from Manchester City.
In August, the ban was increased from six months to 18 months (backdating to July 2017) after an appeal from UEFA.
Things didn’t work out for Nasri at his last club, Antalyaspor. After eight appearances, the Turkish side chose to terminate his contract in January.
The fact West Ham are seemingly happy to take Nasri on comes as a surprise to many, especially considering the wages he is said to be demanding.
Loser: Declan Rice
Much has been made of Rice’s excellent form for the Hammers this season. The 19-year-old has been one of Manuel Pellegrini’s most reliable performers, resulting in a battle to secure his services between the Republic of Ireland and England at international level.
Rice, though, is also at the centre of a contract stand-off between him, his representatives and West Ham.
The talented defender, who can also play in midfield, is said to be earning around £3,000 a week at present, but discussions to improve his current deal have not been fruitful so far.
His contract with West Ham doesn’t expire until the end of the 2019/20 season, but his form this term certainly warrants a new deal.
With West Ham seemingly reluctant to agree to Rice’s demands, you can understand why the youngster would be frustrated if 31-year-old Nasri, who has been out of the game for some time, would come in and earn between £80,000 and £95,000 a week, as reports suggest.
Winner: Alain Migliaccio
Nasri’s agent Migliaccio will have brokered one hell of a deal if he manages to secure a weekly wage above the £80,000 mark for his client. That seems likely considering the supposed interest from MLS and the Chinese Super League.
Migliaccio is a well known French football agent that also looks after the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Laurent Blanc and Franck Ribery.
Reports in England on Monday indicated that West Ham were prepared to offer Nasri a contract that would see him earn between £80,000 and £95,000 a week.
When you consider the ex-Arsenal and City star has been out of the game for a year and has been surrounded in controversy off the pitch in recent years, that seems steep.
Should we really be that surprised though? Modern day football, eh.
Loser: Grady Diangana
This has been a breakthrough season for Diangana, who has made the most of his opportunity to impress following an injury to summer signing Andriy Yarmolenko.
The 20-year-old winger has started three of West Ham’s last four league matches and has flourished after being given a chance to prove himself to Pellegrini.
Those chances are extremely hard to come by for young players at Premier League clubs and the signing of someone like Nasri would only make things harder.
West Ham are said to view Nasri as someone who can come in and fill the void left by Andriy Yarmolenko on the right side of their attack, which is where Diangana has been performing.
How would he and those young players feel if West Ham splashed so much cash on a player that’s not kicked a ball for 12 months?
Winner: Manuel Pellegrini
This is a deal you’d assume Pellegrini will have played a big part in, if it eventually goes through.
Nasri played under the Chilean coach for three years at Manchester City and became one of his most trustworthy performers.
He played a big part in City’s Premier League and League Cup title wins in 2014.
You’d expect the West Ham boss to be delighted if he is able to add a player he knows so well to his squad on a free transfer at this stage of the season.
Having a Premier League title winner in the dressing room is never a bad thing.
Loser: MLS and the Chinese Super League
When Didier Deschamps left Nasri out of France’s 2014 World Cup squad, the midfielder, who was playing for City at the time, claimed that he’d never want to play club football in France again and saw himself playing in MLS at the end of his City career.
“I do not see myself returning to Ligue 1,” Nasri said in 2015.
“I love the Premier League. I like my life in England. I see myself going to play in MLS – to discover something different – rather than going back to France.”
According to the Daily Mail, Nasri recently reiterated his desire to play in MLS to his advisers but doesn’t feel he can earn the money he’d like in America.
Reports on Tuesday morning also claimed that he was tempted to snub West Ham in favour of a move to China next summer.
If the Frenchman does pen a deal with the Hammers then both of these leagues will have missed out on an opportunity to welcome a player who was once one of the most talented attacking midfield players in Europe.
The more players of that ilk these leagues can get, the better.