Sunday 19 November 2017

Mancini warns Wenger cup-tied Nasri would be 'big problem'

Mark Ogden

Roberto Mancini has warned Arsene Wenger he risks wrecking Samir Nasri's £23m transfer to Manchester City if the Arsenal manager creates a "big problem" by selecting the midfielder for the Champions League play-off against Udinese on Wednesday.

Having selected Nasri for the Gunners' Premier League defeat at home to Liverpool on Saturday, Wenger has now insisted he has no concerns over the possibility of leaving the 24 year-old cup-tied for the Champions League, and therefore making him ineligible for City's European campaign.

But City manager Mancini admits he could shift his attentions elsewhere if Wenger calls on Nasri in Italy.

"If Nasri plays against Udinese, it could be possible (to pursue other targets), yes." Mancini said. "I think we can close (the deal) in the next two days, but if he plays in the Champions League, it will be a big a problem. A big problem.

"It's a big problem because we have followed Nasri for 40 days and I hoped (it would be completed) in two days or in three days.

"I don't know why we didn't close it, but for Nasri, it will be important to play all the Champions League with us."

Wenger is unlikely to be influenced by Mancini's warning, however, due to the importance of Arsenal's clash with Udinese, and when asked whether he would be worried about cup-tying Nasri, insisted that his club's progression is more important than the player's availability for another club in the same competition.

"What is important to us is to qualify," Wenger said. "Both Manchester clubs are on the case. Perhaps one day, but it's a long, long, long way from being done."

Arsenal were booed on the final whistle of Saturday's 2-0 defeat against Liverpool, with Wenger conceding that his team were "a bit young" and also "naive" in some of the critical moments of the game.

Wenger has reassured fans that he intends to go back into the transfer market over the next 10 days but also offered an impassioned defence of a recruitment record that has been among the very best in football.

"We are never afraid to take a gamble," Wenger said.

"What you forget is we have bought players. We have bought Gervinho, Chamberlain, Jenkinson, Miyaichi and you will see during the season they are top-quality players.

"But at the moment we have to give them some time.

"We will buy. People feel I'm stubborn, I'm not, I just want to do the best for the team and to buy the right players.

"If I have shown one thing in the last 15 years, it's that I have brought good players here. We will bring experienced players. People just say 'buy' but it's to buy the right player which is difficult." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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