West Ham United’s decision to sign Robert Snodgrass in January 2017 was widely viewed as a smart transfer decision, but the problems associated with moving clubs mid-season plagued the Scotland international and forced him to leave the club on loan by the end of the season.
January transfers are often ill-advised for a multitude of reasons: players struggle to find their feet in an established squad, prices are inflated, wage budgets are already stretched and the natural adjustment period means players seldom discover their best form until the following season.
The problems are extensive but that has not prevented the Hammers from making a winter signing in the shape of Samir Nasri. That the controversial Frenchman was a free agent naturally enhanced his appeal, and Pellegrini’s decision to seal a reunion has already been lauded in the aftermath of an impressive debut in the FA Cup.
Bigger tests await for Nasri but an impressive showing against Championship opposition after an extended absence from the game will do wonders for his confidence. During his time with both Arsenal and Manchester City he managed to provide moments of magic which elude plenty of talented players, dissecting opponents with genius vision and dazzling dribbling.
Those qualities may not be at the razor sharp best they once were, but Sky Sports pundit Nick Wright believes that he can inject a goal threat into the club which the current crop of midfielders simply cannot provide.
‘There is a glaring lack of creativity and goal threat among their existing central midfielders, with Mark Noble, Declan Rice, Pedro Obiang and the injured Jack Wilshere contributing no goals and just five assists in 52 Premier League appearances between them this season.
‘Nasri can change that and West Ham will also be confident that he can help their attacking players.’
Whereas Snodgrass failed to hit the ground running at West Ham after arriving in midseason, Wright clearly feels that Nasri can make a big impact at the London Stadium.
Snodgrass may well have established himself as one of the club’s most impressive players after returning from his loan spell at Villa, but it took both time and the arrival of a new manager to enable him to discover his best form.
Nasri, on the other hand, has the benefit of playing under a manager who knows his quality and respects him, and that could be telling for the creative playmaker as the season develops.
Question marks remain over Nasri’s hot-headed streak and fears of that ill-discipline will tarnish his time in east London will naturally linger beneath the surface until he proves he has banished the demons of his past.
If Nasri is able to channel his aggression effectively, there is no doubt Wright’s analysis could turn prophetic in 2019.
West Ham fans – thoughts? Let us know below!
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