Samir Nasri has claimed Pep Guardiola urged him to stay at Manchester City and fight for his place.
Nasri was one of four City players to leave the club on Wednesday as he joined Spanish side Sevilla on a season-long loan.
The Frenchman’s future had seemed uncertain following Guardiola’s arrival at the Etihad Stadium in the summer, particularly after the Spanish boss revealed the 29-year-old reported for pre-season training overweight.
But Nasri had shown signs of turning the situation around as he appeared as a substitute against West Ham at the weekend and Guardiola then said he would remain in his thoughts if he stayed.
Nasri now says Guardiola was keen for that to be case, but he himself felt his career would be better served elsewhere.
The former Arsenal midfielder, in an interview published on the Sevilla website, said: “Guardiola, until the last moment, tried to make me stay but I was clear I wanted to leave and go to a place where I could give my best level. I was looking for a family club and in Sevilla I have found just that, but until the last moment I haven’t been able to leave.”
Nasri is confident he can soon get up to speed at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
“I’m fine, because I played last weekend with Manchester City,” he said. “I am very excited and I hope to do my best.”
Nasri spent six months on the sidelines last season after suffering a serious thigh injury which required surgery after muscle and tendon were detached from the bone.
He said: “Last year was difficult for me both on and off the field but the time I was injured helped me to step back and reflect. I learned a lot in the last year.”
Nasri’s City team-mate and compatriot Eliaquim Mangala, a £42million signing from Porto two years ago, has also moved out after joining Valencia on a season-long loan.
Mangala twice had opportunities to join the club in the past and feels the move came at the right time.
He told the club’s website, valenciacf.com: “I think coming to Valencia was my destiny. I am here to show my quality and my potential for a full season.”