Ferguson plays mind games over Nasri move
Sir Alex Ferguson exerted subtle pressure on Arsène Wenger over the attempted purchase of Samir Nasri late last night in what appeared to be one last attempt to revive his fading hopes of signing the player.
When it was put to Ferguson at a brief press conference in Boston that Wenger had declared he could convince Nasri to stay, spurning a £20m United bid, the United manager said: "That's a decision [Wenger] has made. He is the manager. If he stands by that decision it's a brave one. I'm not sure the [Arsenal] directors will enjoy that one, but it's possible. Maybe he will have to stay."
Privately, there has been a feeling at United that the narrow ownership structure at Arsenal could actually be an impediment to United's attempts to buy Nasri, with Alisher Usmanov and Stan Kroenke both unlikely to stand in Wenger's way if he wanted to keep the player. But in a classic piece of reverse Ferguson psychology, the manager applied pressure on both the player and his club, while seemingly ruling out buying a player he badly wants. "I don't think he's coming to United. That's all I can tell you," Ferguson added. "I think he's agreed to go somewhere else. Maybe he has to stay at Arsenal, also. That's a possibility." Nasri does not appear to have agreed to sign for Manchester City, despite Ferguson's inference.
Nasri, 24, has one year left on his contract and has refused to sign a new five-year extension that Arsenal are offering. Arsenal, who would only consider letting Nasri leave to a direct Premier League rival for £25m, are content to risk losing Nasri for nothing in 12 months as it is understood the player is leaning towards playing out the final year of his contract. Wenger, speaking in Kuala Lumpur on the first day of Arsenal's pre-season trip to Malaysia, said: "Will he [Nasri] be at the club next season? I say yes. The second part [of the question] – will he sign a new contract? I hope yes, but I am not the only one to decide. Samir Nasri is very happy at the club and is committed to staying at the club."
Wenger expressed optimism about retaining his captain Cesc Fabregas.
Latest in Sport
Mats Hummels transfer latest: Manchester United to revive interest as Liverpool's Tiago Ilori could hold the key to move
Arturo Vidal to Manchester United: Midfielder set to force through move to Louis van Gaal's Red Devils - reports
Manchester United transfer news: United given new hope in race for Juan Cuadrado as Barcelona talks stall
Liverpool transfer news: Brendan Rodgers plans more Anfield signings this summer
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho confirms Fernando Torres is staying at Stamford Bridge
- 1 Scientists create transparent mouse complete with see-through organs
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 3 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 Amazonian Indian tribe filmed making contact with Brazil village in rare video footage
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us