Samir Nasri: West Ham recruit reveals retirement worries ahead of Arsenal showdown
Nasri was found guilty of receiving an intravenous treatment at a Los Angeles clinic in December 2016, which is in breach of World Anti-Doping Agency rules.
But now he is out to make up for lost time as he faces former club Arsenal today having signed a six-month deal at West Ham.
“I’m still disappointed about it because I didn’t take any substance,” said Nasri.
“It was just the dosage of the vitamin that was too much. I could do it in two days but I did it in just one day and so I have regrets about it because I was sick. I had a doctor’s prescription but it still hasn’t been accepted.
“I lost one year of my career that just went like that and at one point they were talking about a four-year suspension. A lot of things went through my mind. I thought my career was over, so having this second chance makes me lucky.”
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, who lifted the title with him at Manchester City, believes Nasri is driven to prove wrong the doubters who reckon he is no longer the player he was.
“They can expect a lot from him because he is a top player,” said Pellegrini.
“He wants revenge also and for me it is so important to give him the opportunity to work with us. I hope we will recover the same Samir Nasri that we saw three or four years ago with me at Manchester City.”
Pellegrini remains adamant that while age has caught up with Nasri, he is still a risk worth taking, adding: “From Arsenal, City bought him. From there his career declined without doubt.
“Every time you choose a player you have a risk. Sometimes when you invest more money your risk increases.
“When I bring players here, I say my responsibility doubles over when players were already here with the squad.
“You must take decisions. This was a risky decision but not a high risk one, because he signed for six months.
“He didn’t want a [large] amount of money in these six months. He wanted to demonstrate he was back in football. There’s a lot of players you can buy and the risk is high.
“He made no problem with the contract. He was not fighting for more or less money. He had an agreement and he wants to demonstrate between now and June that he is able to be a top player in football.”
Arsenal manager Unai Emery, meanwhile, has admitted he will have to rotate players over the next few weeks with his injury-hit side short of bodies.
Asked whether he would consider giving players a break, Emery said: “We are doing that. We are thinking about that for this week and this month.
“You have to balance the players because they play a lot of matches in the next month, with the Europa League and the FA Cup. So we are doing that.”
Arsenal visit West Ham today before hosting Chelsea on January 19. They then face a run of three games in nine days with Manchester United in the FA Cup and Cardiff and Manchester City in the Premier League.
Laurent Koscielny will return against the Hammers after missing the FA Cup win over Blackpool with a back spasm he suffered in the warm-up.
Emery said: “Little by little Koscielny is feeling better and he can play consistently in the next matches.
“We pushed him to play after his injuries because we needed him in some matches. It’s not easy for him to play three matches in one week.
“We pushed him and he was playing three matches during the week but not 90 minutes each match. He did that.
“Now, this week is perfect for everybody, we can use the player in the match on Saturday after one week of rest. Players have been recovering for this match.”