Samir Nasri can be ‘fantastic’ for West Ham if he is given time to regain his fitness, says Pablo Zabaleta

The Frenchman is looking for a club, having not played competitive football in 18 months due in part a Wada suspension

Thursday 22 November 2018 12:50
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Pablo Zabaleta has backed “fantastic” Samir Nasri to make a big impact for West Ham if the club decide to hand the Frenchman a contract.

Nasri, who has not played competitive football in 18 months due in part to a ban for breaching World Anti-Doping Agency rules by visiting an intravenous treatment centre in Los Angeles, has been training with West Ham in recent weeks in a bid to earn a permanent deal with the club.

He is eligible to play professionally again from January 1 and Zabaleta, who played alongside Nasri at Manchester City, believes the 31-year-old still has plenty to offer.

“Manuel [Pellegrini] knows Samir very well from his time at Manchester City,” Zabaleta said in an interview with Sky Sports.

“We need players with his quality, especially because also we lost two key players who brought quality into this team – Manuel Lanzini in the summer before the World Cup and then [Jack] Wilshere, who is very close to coming back to the team.

Nasri has been without a club since leaving Antalyaspor in January

“On the ball [Nasri] is fantastic. He is one of those players who can give to the team some possession and play between the lines to help the attacking players to create chances.”

Nasri produced some spectacular moments in the Premier League during his time at Arsenal and at City, and Zabaleta thinks the only thing the Frenchman needs to be an asset to West Ham is fitness.

“Samir needs a bit of time,” the Argentine added. “He has not been football training for more than a year but sometimes those players are technically very good so he probably needs to focus more on his fitness levels than his passing and all this.

“We know Samir and his quality. When he is fit he is on a different level. He is a fantastic player.

“Hopefully he can reach his best fitness level. He has to feel physically good because we know that the Premier League is so demanding physically.”

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