Friday 15 December 2017

Man Utd biding time to bag Nasri from Arsenal

Mark Ogden and Jeremy Wilson

Manchester United are ready to hold firm on their £20 million valuation of Samir Nasri with Sir Alex Ferguson remaining optimistic that the club's offer for the Arsenal midfielder can secure his signature before next month's transfer deadline.

Nasri, who held talks with Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger on Thursday after reporting for pre-season training, is refusing to commit to a new contract to replace the final 12 months of his current deal at the Emirates and is understood to be determined to force a move to Old Trafford.

A five-year contract offer worth £90,000-a-week is on the table, however, and there is still a hope at Arsenal that he can be persuaded to sign.

While Arsenal stressed that they had not received a formal offer from United for Nasri, discussions two weeks ago between Manchester United chief executive David Gill and senior figures at Arsenal resulted in Gill lodging a verbal bid for the 24 year-old France midfielder.

United's offer remains on the table as Arsenal have yet to indicate whether they would be prepared to accept the bid, demand a bigger fee or simply state that Nasri is not for sale.

Ferguson is confident that Nasri views United as his preferred destination should he be allowed to leave Arsenal. And despite interest from Manchester City and Chelsea, United believe that both clubs have greater priorities and are unlikely to mount serious opposition.

The greatest obstacle is likely to come from Wenger, who is determined to avoid strengthening a domestic rival by allowing them to sign one of his leading players.

Nasri's resistance to signing a new contract has placed Arsenal in a difficult situation, however, as he could leave for nothing in 12 months' time.

One potential solution that would allow Arsenal to improve Nasri's income – within their pay structure – would be to significantly enhance his bonuses and image rights. It is understood that this was previously agreed for Cesc Fabregas. Wenger will also outline his plans to Nasri for next season, including what could be an enhanced if Fabregas does leave.

Arsenal do not intend to make any response to United. However, a decision would clearly have to be made if Nasri continues to stall or, as expected, informs Wenger that he will not sign any offer this summer.

Nasri is expected to fly to Kuala Lumpur this weekend for the first leg of the Arsenal's tour of the Far East. United, who fly to Boston on Monday for three weeks, are prepared to wait for developments rather than push for an agreement.

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