Samir Nasri has denied he joined Sevilla on loan because Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola told him he was surplus to requirements.
Nasri, 29, moved to Europa League winners Sevilla on Wednesday for the 2016-17 campaign.
The Frenchman had missed City’s preseason after Guardiola said he had returned to training overweight and his only appearance under the new coach came as a late substitute in the 3-1 victory over West Ham on Sunday.
Asked about reports that Guardiola had sought to offload him, Nasri said during his unveiling on Thursday: “On the contrary. Until the last stages, Pep tried to convince me to stay and said I would play.
“Until the last minute, they wouldn’t let me go, they wouldn’t open the door to my departure. I had it clear in my mind that I needed to leave because I wanted to go to a place where I felt loved and where I would find my level.
“I needed a familiar club that would give me affection and Sevilla can do that.”
Nasri joined City from Arsenal in 2011 and won two Premier League titles, as well as two League Cups and one FA Cup.
He had a difficult 2015-16 campaign under Manuel Pellegrini, though, making just 15 appearances in all competitions due to injury issues.
“Last year was difficult for me because I couldn’t play much and I hope to do the best this year,” the former Marseille star said. “The time that I was injured allowed me to consider what I wanted and I’ve come here to win. I have learned a lot this year.
“I physically feel very well because I did all the preparation with City and have played in one game.”
He said he is looking forward to working under new Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli.
“I’ve joined Sevilla, a club that has a high quality sporting project, with a magnificent coach,” he said. “I very much like the spirit of [Argentine coach] Marcelo Bielsa, and Jorge Sampaoli has it too, and I like the fact that he wants the team to have the ball.
“I like Sevilla’s attacking style. That is why I chose them.”
Nasri had an offer to join Turkish side Besiktas on loan but opted to join the Andalusian club.
“Sampaoli, the team and La Liga have made me choose Sevilla,” he said. “This is the best league in the world and Sevilla is among the best four clubs and I would not have had that in Turkey.”
Nasri could make his La Liga debut when Sevilla host Las Palmas on Sept. 10.