As already reported here at Royal Blue Mersey, free agent French attacker Samir Nasri has been linked to a January deal with Everton. This is obviously a long way from coming to fruition, so there is no need to get overly worked up about this deal either way yet. It is worth thinking through the benefits and downsides of such a signing.
Now, as a general rule, I support most free transfers. Wages simply aren’t that big a deal for a club like Everton, and especially when you’re bringing in a player unlikely to have resale value, no price is better than free. However, I am also leery of players on the wrong side of 30 who are coming off long layoffs, and it is on this juxtaposition that the decision to sign Nasri would have to fall.
Marco Silva has given us very little indication that he trusts Kieran Dowell, and the situation with Ademola Lookman is more and more of a mess all the time. Bringing in a player with a lot of experience both as a winger and as a central attacker makes sense tactically for the Toffees, especially since Nasri could probably also slot in as a ball-carrying CM as well (think Tom Davies’ current role).
What this means is that Nasri, if he came, would probably be the second choice 10, the fourth choice winger, and probably the second or third choice 8 (depending on what Andre Gomes looks like when fit).
What is troubling, though, is that while it sounds good to say “the ex Arsenal, Manchester City, and Sevilla man” his last actual stop was in Turkey at Antalyaspor. The Turkish league is decent, but Antalyaspor isn’t a particularly strong team in that division.
The last time we saw Nasri in a major league, he was a very effective dribbler, completing 66% of his attempts and two per 90 minutes and 1.8 key passes on the same time metric. We also saw classic Nasri versatility at that stop, with 16 starts at left wing, 8 at central attacking mid, four in left midfield and one each at center mid and right wing.
If that’s still the player that Nasri is, he’s totally worth the signing. That sort of resource off the bench would be wonderful in a situation where the manager doesn’t seem to trust some of his attacking depth options, and for an attacking player Nasri actually puts forward a decent defensive work rate as well.
Trouble is, we just don’t know what he currently is right now. If the club decided to sign him, I would have to trust, at least initially, their judgement simply because no one has seen him on the field in a top league since early 2017. I am concerned that his last stop was Turkey, and I would be very nervous if a starter went down and we were relying on him every week, but in the meantime, it’s an interesting rumor that is at least the type of move that would make the team better.