Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reiterated his desire to keep Samir Nasri at Emirates Stadium after Cesc Fabregas left the North London club for Barcelona on Monday.
Fabregas has finally sealed a long-awaited move back to the Nou Camp, and it has been widely speculated that Nasri will follow his former captain out of Arsenal.
The Frenchman is in the last year of his contract and has been linked with a move to Manchester City and their title-winning neighbours United.
He also missed the Gunners’ opening day draw at Newcastle United due to illness, but his manager insists speculation about his future had nothing to do with his absence.
"The two things are not linked in my spirit,” the Gunners boss said. “Ideally I want Samir Nasri to stay, but as much as we were in a strong position on the contract side with Cesc, the situation is a bit different, but hopefully we can sort the situation out."
The Arsenal boss added that he isn’t concerned about sending a message to their Premier League rivals by persuading Nasri to stay.
"What is more important than the message is how strong we feel inside as a team," he said.
"We are determined, we have bought some very good players and, overall, the feeling inside the squad is very strong, and the desire and belief is very strong.
"But, of course, we will be encouraged by the results that are made in the very near future, and certainly by the fact we can still bring one or two players in because we are still a little bit short."
Nasri could be the third big name player to leave Emirates Stadium this summer, after Fabregas and Gael Clichy left for Barcelona and Manchester City respectively.
Emmanuel Eboue could also leave and is rumoured to be in talks with Galatasaraay over a possible move.
Meanwhile, Wenger continues to be heavily linked with moves for Everton centre-back Phil Jagielka, Bolton’s Gary Cahill and Valencia forward Juan Mata.
By Ryan Kellycomments