Wenger holds on to Nasri for dear life

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he is so keen to keep hold of midfielder Samir Nasri that he is prepared to risk losing the French international for free in a year’s time.

Speaking after his team started their pre-season Asian tour with a resounding 4-0 win over a Malaysia XI on Wednesday, Wenger praised Nasri and refused to be drawn on the future of want-away captain Cesc Fabregas.

Spanish midfielder Fabregas has been the subject of a bid from his boyhood team Barcelona, while French international Nasri has been strongly linked with Manchester City and Manchester United.

Wenger said he was delighted to see Nasri, who has 12 months to run on his contract, turn on the style in Malaysia and help the Gunners to a convincing victory.

“Samir [Nasri] has always been committed to the team and we saw that today,” Wenger said late on Wednesday.

“He did very well coming off the bench. I’m willing to keep him for another year, even if it means we risk losing him for nothing in a year’s time.”

“I think the board agrees with me as it is a technical decision,” he said.

“Our goal is to win the championship and we need good players to do that.”

Asked about Fabregas, the French boss responded: “I don’t want to comment on what some Barcelona players are saying, about how Fabregas wants to leave, but all I can say is, we want to keep him.”

Arsenal play in China on Saturday before flying back to Europe.

Fabregas (24) has stayed behind in London as he recovers from a muscle strain.

Wenger has insisted Arsenal, who finished fourth this year and were again without a trophy, would be contenders next season despite failing to splash the cash so far. — AFP

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