Samir Nasri has revealed that he has “nothing but love” for former club Arsenal despite his acrimonious exit to join Manchester City back in 2011.
The midfielder opted to make the move to the Gunners’ Premier League rivals for £24 million ($34m), delivering a parting shot at the club’s supporters as he suggested City’s fans were more passionate.
The Frenchman spent three years at Arsenal, making a total of 125 appearances, and he insists that, as he prepares to face the Gunners for West Ham on Saturday, he still holds his former club in high regard.
He told Sky Sports: “I enjoyed it [his time at Arsenal] a lot because I had a manager there that really believed in me. It was like a second dad.
“When I look at it I’m happy about my three years there but disappointed at the same time because we had so much quality. It’s just a shame that we didn’t win any silverware with the players and the team we had, but I had good memories.
“Arsene Wenger made me have this mentality to score goals and to believe in my qualities. From the top of my head, there was this game against Fulham where I scored two really nice goals. We won 2-1 and at the end of this game we were top of the league.
“The goal against Porto, the goal against Tottenham in the derby. My final season was the season when I scored a lot of goals and it was good.”
“I’m looking forward to it [facing Arsenal] because it will hopefully be my first game back in the Premier League. I was in the squad against Brighton but I stayed on the bench so it would be nice.
“As well, in the past maybe we had some words with the Arsenal fans but like I said, there is nothing but love for the club because I spent three wonderful years there.
“Before I used to say things about Arsenal because I was hurt by the treatment from the fans but there is nothing but love for Arsenal.”
Nasri is preparing to make his first appearance in the Premier League since 2016, having left City to join Sevilla on loan before completing a permanent move to Turkish side Antalyaspor in 2017.
He was, however, banned from football for 18 months for breaching anti-doping rules, with Nasri having since signed for West Ham following the conclusion of his suspension.
And the 31-year-old insists that he is still as good as he used to be, claiming that he’s only focused on taking his second chance in football. He added: “One-hundred per cent [Nasri’s as good as he used to be]. If you don’t believe in yourself, who’s going to do it for you?
“I’m a guy who is confident and football is like riding a bike, forget about it. Once you know how to do it you will always do it. The only thing is to get my fitness back and that’s it, but my mindset is I want to prove something to myself.
“Prove that I’m back and I only lost one year of my career. I don’t want to have any regrets about it. I want to be able to say I was blessed, I was lucky to have a second chance and I did take it.”