It’s fair to say that Nolito’s Manchester City career, that started so brightly, has descended into the 30-year-old being a squad player at best, not even on the bench at times.
Nolito’s fall from grace under Pep Guardiola has led to speculation concerning his future, including suggestions that he could return to Celta Vigo just one year after leaving for the Etihad.
And according to Mundo Deportivo, the Spain international actually had an opportunity to leave City in January, when the mega-bucks of China came calling.
Fabio Cannavaro’s Tianjin Quanjin made efforts to sign both Nolito and PSG striker, Edinson Cavani, in January, but fails on both fronts. Although Cavani welcomed the offer, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi refused to endorse the transfer and the Uruguayan remained in the French capital.
Nolito wasn’t even willing to consider the Chinese Super League, despite an incredible salary offer of €21 million per year after tax, because of his sporting ambitions. The former Barcelona man wants to fight until the last moment to make Julen Lopetegui’s Spain squad at the 2018 Russia World Cup, and playing in China won’t help his cause.
It was an admirable decision by Nolito, but his recent situation at City – just 135 minutes of football in 2017 – will not have helped him fulfill his ambitions of playing at next year’s World Cup. This may force the winger to find a new club this summer, with a return home to La Liga a possibility.