Sir Alex Ferguson appears to be convinced he can overcome Arsène Wenger's resistance to losing Samir Nasri and capitalise on the French midfielder's contractual impasse with a speculative £20m offer.
As far as Wenger is concerned Nasri is not for sale and ostensibly his price is the same £40m that Arsenal would want for Cesc Fabregas – because the Arsenal manager wants him out of Ferguson's reach. But United, whom The Independent revealed three weeks have held initial discussions through intermediaries of Nasri, have yet to test how Arsenal will respond to a £20m offer for a player who is out of contract next summer and thus worth probably half that sum. United's only option now is to make an offer.
United chief executive David Gill has admitted that comments made by Wayne Rooney and Sir Alex Ferguson amid the club's disciplinary storms of last season were not "helpful" but has also suggested that the Football Association has victimised his club to promote its Respect agenda.
Gill, an FA board member, writes in a review of United's season that the controversial decision to ban Rooney for two weeks for his outburst into a camera at West Ham last April has at least been "a lesson to Wayne".