Reluctant Wenger places £25m price-tag on Nasri
MANCHESTER UNITED will have to pay around £25m for Arsenal's Samir Nasri as the north London club reluctantly consider doing business with their Premier League rivals.
United lead the chase for Nasri (24) who has one year remaining on his contract and has rejected the club's offer of a new five-year deal worth £90,000 a week.
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger had initially ruled out selling him to another English club, but it is understood his stance has mellowed slightly in recent days as the alternative is to allow a player who cost £15.8m from Marseille in 2008 to leave for nothing when his contract expires.
However it would take a bid of around £25m for Wenger to sanction selling the Frenchman to one of Arsenal's direct rivals.
United have made their interest clear, while Manchester City and Chelsea are paying close attention to developments and may enter the bidding should other potential deals fall through.
AC Milan and Inter Milan have also expressed interest in Nasri. He is due back at Arsenal on Thursday for the start of pre-season training, and Wenger still harbours hopes he can be convinced to sign the contract offer.
Nasri wants £120,000 a week, which is above the pay structure imposed by the Arsenal board.
Wenger is especially keen to keep Nasri as he accepts he will be unable to prevent Cesc Fabregas leaving for Barcelona, as long as the two clubs can agree a fee. Arsenal value their captain at £40m and last year rejected a £29m bid from Barcelona for a player who is contracted until 2015.
Gael Clichy yesterday completed his transfer to Manchester City from Arsenal for a fee rising to £10m. The defender was in the final year of his contract at Arsenal and, although Wenger was keen to keep him, he had made it clear he would not be signing an extension.
It is understood Wenger is not looking to sign a left-back as a replacement but is considering asking Thomas Vermaelen to move across from centre-half.
Instead Wenger is looking at signing two centre-halves, and is inching towards a move for Bolton's England international Gary Cahill. Bolton are understood to want the full £17m that was written into the defender's contract as a buy-out clause, while Arsenal would prefer a player-plus- cash deal, and are prepared to offer Bolton the England U-21 international Henri Lansbury.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle said his club have yet to receive a formal offer for Cahill (25).
Coyle said: "Some of the elite clubs in this country have noted their interest. But there has been nothing concrete. Until that changes, Gary is a Bolton player." (© Independent News Service)