Three Premier League players whose fortunes were resurrected by moving to Sevilla

In Samir Nasri's case it is a temporary arrangement for now

BY Raf Diallo 15:34 Wednesday 4 January 2017, 15:34 4 Jan 2017

Sevilla's Frederic Kanoute from Mali, reacts against Atletico Madrid's during their Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010 (AP Photo/Angel Fernandez)

It's January, thus the football transfer rumour mill is spinning furiously with stories that may or may not have any basis in reality.

One example, is a claim that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants Sevilla midfielder Steven N'Zonzi in a deal that would be worth just shy of €30 million in order to boost his midfield options following an injury to Ilkay Gundogan and a lengthy suspension for Fernandinho.

N'Zonzi previously played in the Premier League with Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers and has found fortune at Sevilla.

But he's not the only one who's gone from the Premier League to Sevilla and enjoyed success.

Freddy Kanoute

The now retired ex-West Ham and Tottenham striker is a club legend at Sevilla as part of a talented squad that came relatively close to La Liga glory but also won two Copa del Reys (2007 and 2010) and back to back UEFA Cups in 2006 and 2007. 

Indeed, from personal memory, during the 2008-09 season, one would often spot the flag of his native Mali in the Sanchez Pizjuan on matchdays.

The France-born Mali international arrived at Sevilla in 2005 after five years in England.

While not impressive, his overall goalscoring record with West Ham and Spurs was not bad overall, hitting 14 and 12 goals respectively in the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons.

But after a relatively modest goals rate in his debut season after switching to Sevilla for €6.5 million, his form in front of goal exploded during the 2006-07 season.

That campaign which saw the Andalusian club win a cup, retain the UEFA Cup and finish just five points behind La Liga winners Real Madrid and runners up Barcelona, saw Kanoute plunder 30 goals in all competitions. 

The next two seasons also saw him breach the 20-goal mark, while he also managed to do so again in 2010-11. 

In an interview with Barcelona-based football journalist Graham Hunter in FourFourTwo magazine, Kanoute credited his adaptation to life in Spain as being down to an improved efficiency and game intelligence. 

"At Spurs and West Ham I tried to be all over the pitch, now I’m more efficient," he told Hunter, while also touching on the effect fans in the Premier League can have on a striker.

 Steven N'Zonzi

As mentioned earlier, the Frenchman is no strange to the Premier League. Between 2009 and 2015, he spent time at Blackburn Rovers and then Stoke City.

The defensive midfielder was always a regular for his clubs but ultimately left Stoke for about €8.2 million in July 2015.

He has since become a regular fixture in the team that is an outside challenger for the La Liga title and has dominated the Europa League, but by his own admission the tall and physical player initially found it hard to adjust when it came to the intensely hot Andalusian weather and the way in which the game is played in Spain.

He told Canal Plus: "Adapting wasn't easy because it was 40 or 42 degrees and I couldn't stay outside on my terrace for more than 10 minutes at a time before going into my house. I spent six years in the Premier League and I didn't think it would be difficult to adapt to another league like La Liga. I was proven wrong. Everything is much more tactical and the games are far less open. You have to think more."

However, in the second half of last season and the start of this one, his performances have caught the eye, hence the rumoured interest from Man City.

Samir Nasri

If there is genuine interest in N'Zonzi from Man City, Nasri could prove pivotal in making a deal happen.

The Frenchman is on loan at Sevilla from City and has been one of La Liga's standout performers this season.

As our own Spain based La Liga columnist Robbie Dunne recently reported, Nasri is "in the best form of his life" in the south of Spain, fulfilling a role as a playmaker.

He certainly enjoys the lifestyle in the scenic and sunny capital of southern Spain, recently telling AS that "The food is great and the girls are very pretty", while also describing the footballing side of the move as the "perfect move for me" after an up and down few seasons at City.

The adaptation is not surprising as he is extremely proficient technically.

And he also made another relevant point that Sevilla FC "have been able to return many players to the elite" over the years.

For now he is only there on loan until the end of the season but perhaps the ex-Arsenal player might consider making it permanent.


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