Arsenal's Samir Nasri remains Manchester United target

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
Samir Nasri dribbles the ball for Arsenal
Nasri has only 12 months left on his contract with Arsenal

Manchester United remain hopeful of signing Samir Nasri despie the fact that Arsenal say they have not received a formal bid for the French midfielder.

BBC Sport can confirm that United made a near-£20m offer for the 24-year-old within the last fortnight, an offer that remains on the table.

Arsenal say no official bid has been made, just an expression of interest.

Nasri has so far refused to extend his Arsenal contract, which has only 12 months to run.

He is expected to meet Arsene Wenger for talks within the next 24 hours.

Wenger is already facing the prospect of losing captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, having sold Gael Clichy to Manchester City on Monday.

The Arsenal manager is determined not to sell Nasri to United but knows the player could leave for nothing if he sits out the last year of his deal.

Chelsea and Manchester City have also been strongly linked with Nasri, and Wenger is reluctant to see one of his key performers, and a player he would like as a cornerstone of a rebuilt Arsenal team, move to one of his Premier League rivals.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, however, is determined to strengthen his midfield after the retirement of Paul Scholes and with Ryan Giggs coming to the end of his career.

Tottenham's Luka Modric and Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder have been touted as possible Ferguson targets, but the fact that United have made a firm offer for Nasri suggests they are optimistic that a deal can be done, despite Wenger's determination not to sell - and especially to Old Trafford.

Arsenal have offered Nasri an improved, long-term deal at the Emirates and were confident he would sign towards the end of last season, but doubts have grown throughout the summer and suitors are encouraged they can now prise him away from Arsenal.