Arsenal prepare to fight off Nasri's rival suitors


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The Independent Football

Arsenal face an anxious week's wait, bracing themselves for a Manchester United bid for Samir Nasri, with Manchester City also open-minded about a move for the player if they feel there is a genuine prospect of concluding a deal.

Though Sir Alex Ferguson is back at his desk, United's progress on the Nasri front is not likely to advance until next week and there were no signs last night that City are intent on setting the pace for a player who Arsenal will fight to keep.

No discussions took place at a significant level between City and Nasri yesterday and none are currently scheduled, though it is unclear whether exploratory discussions between intermediaries have been undertaken.

United put feelers out in this way three weeks ago, though those discussions did not involve Nasri's agent Jean-Pierre Bernès or senior United representatives. Nasri has been on City's long list of possible targets, though, but the failure to sign Udinese's Alexis Sanchez, City's number one target, has certainly elevated Nasri up the order.

But the Frenchman has hinted at an interest in United – "Do I want to go to United? We should see if their interest is real and if it is concrete first," he said three weeks ago – and there seems little value in City seeking to capitalise on the player being out of contract in one year's time if they are to lose him to United anyway.

Wenger will fight tooth and nail to keep Nasri, regardless. One strategy for the club is to demand perhaps double the £20m United are likely to offer, which would make any move for him prohibitive.

But the fact that Nasri becomes a free agent next summer makes it difficult to assess what level of bid Arsenal really will find themselves unable to refuse.