It’s taken the best part of the summer, but Samir Nasri’s signing by Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini may well be the difference between Premiership glory and failure for the Eastland’s club this season.
The mercurial Frenchman, 24, put pen to paper on a deal worth £100,000-per-week following his £22 million move from Arsenal, joining City owner Sheikh Mansour’s multi-million revolution of the success starved club.
Nasri, a £7million signing from Marseille, joins an array of talent at Mancini’s revolution, and has already made an impact with an impressive showing in City’s 5-1 demolition of Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham Hotspur.
But days after the transfer window has slammed shut, could the signing of Nasri be pivotal in the Eastlands side’s bid to wrestle the championship away from bitter rivals Manchester United?
Already, Nasri gives Mancini another option if the equally talented David Silva picks up a knock or suffers a loss of form. However, he could also be deployed alongside the Spaniard, in what would be a daunting and intelligent City attack.
Although it could be argued that both are the same type of footballer, what Nasri possesses better than Silva is an urgency and directness when during attacks. Nasri offers Mancini’s men a different kind of flair and an explosiveness in the final third that can help unlock even the best of defences – not just in the Premiership, but the Champions’ League also.
And that just might be the key for Man City when trying to unlock the tightest of defences that both the Premiership and Europe will throw at them this season. There is no doubt that Manchester City are now genuine contenders both at home and abroad. With the likes of Nasri, Silva, Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and – until January at least, Carlos Tevez – you would write them off at your peril.
But the biggest challenge for Mancini will be to keep all of his stars happy – and I’ve named only a handful there. With the sheer size and depth of talent at Mancini’s disposal, it means not all of City’s stars will be able to play all of the time.
Yes, they have the luxury of being able to basically name two different sides, equally as strong as one another, in alternate weeks.
But, while Nasri, Silva and the rest could take Man City towards their first title in decades, the key will be how Mancini manages his squad. If managed correctly, then the Premiership trophy could well be draped in light blue come next May.
Manchester City for the title?
By Joe O’Brien – Celtic fan – @Joe11OBrien