Battle for Nasri

Arsenal's Samir Nasri in action against Pool last season
Arsenal's Samir Nasri in action against Pool last season
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MANCHESTER United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has cranked up the pressure on Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger by claiming the Gunners’ money-men might not be too impressed if Samir Nasri’s contract is allowed to run down.

Ferguson has already had a £20m bid for the France midfielder turned down by the north London club.

Indeed, the Scot fears his summer pursuit of Nasri is doomed to end in failure, with Manchester City more likely to prevail.

However, Wenger has pledged to keep Nasri for the final year of his contract in an attempt to persuade him to sign a lucrative extension – and will do so knowing failure would mean the player leaving for nothing in 12 months’ time.

“He is the manager,” said Ferguson of Wenger. “If he stands by that decision, it is a brave one. I don’t know if the (Arsenal) directors will enjoy that one, but it is possible.

“Maybe he will have to stay. But I don’t think he is coming to United. I think that he has agreed to go somewhere else.”

Ferguson might be playing a tactical game in a rather confused transfer picture.

The United boss knows he still requires a replacement for Paul Scholes, who retired at the end of last season.

However, there are serious doubts over Ferguson’s ability to land any of his three main targets; Nasri, Luka Modric and Wesley Sneijder, who has again expressed a desire to remain at Inter Milan.

With Sneijder’s wage demands expected to be around £250,000 a week, Ferguson will want to know the 27-year-old Holland midfielder is committed to the United cause before attempting to drive the transfer through.

- THE future of Manchester City captain Carlos Tevez is the subject of intense debate once more after Brazilian club Corinthians tabled a £40million offer for the Argentina ace.

Tevez, dropped for the Copa America clash with Costa Rica last night, declared he wished to leave City for the sake of his family.

With none of Europe’s leading clubs apparently interested in spending the £50m City suggested was the fee for their captain, it was starting to look like Tevez might spend next season at the renamed Etihad Stadium after all. However, now has come news of Corinthians’ interest.

Tevez used to play for the Brazilian outfit before heading to West Ham five years ago - the start of a turbulent spell in England that has also involved two seasons at both Manchester clubs.

It is thought the massive transfer fee, almost treble the club record £13.7million that got him to the club in 2005, would be funded through sponsorship and money from TV rights.

If the full transfer fee materialises, it would surely prove attractive to City owner Sheikh Mansour.

Having ended a 35-year trophy drought last term by winning the FA Cup, City are moving forward quickly and are currently in the United States for a three-match tour that forms part of their build-up to a new season that includes Champions League combat for the first time.

- ARGENTINA legend Diego Maradona has suffered minor injuries in a car accident on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

The 50-year-old and his partner Veronica Ojeda were taken to hospital after the car he was driving reportedly hit a bus, hours before Argentina’s Copa America clash with Costa Rica.

- STUART Pearce has signed a new two-year contract as England Under-21 manager.