Arsenal boss Wenger prepared to lose Nasri for free

Samir Nasri dribbles the ball for Arsenal
Nasri has 12 months left on his contract with Arsenal

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is prepared to lose Samir Nasri on a free transfer next summer rather than sell him now.

Nasri, 24, has 12 months left on his contract and BBC Sport understands Manchester United made an offer of almost £20m for the midfielder in June.

"I'm willing to keep him for another year, even if it means we risk losing him for nothing in a year's time," said Wenger, whose side are in Malaysia.

"I think the board agrees with me as it is a technical decision."

He added: "Our goal is to win the championship and we need good players to do that."

Wenger was delighted with Nasri's performance in a 4-0 win over a Malaysia XI on Wednesday.

"Samir has always been committed to the team and we saw that today," Wenger said. "He did very well coming off the bench."

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

Nasri has so far refused to sign a new contract with Arsenal and has also been linked with Chelsea and Manchester City.

Wenger is reluctant to see one of his key performers - a player he would like as a cornerstone of a rebuilt Arsenal team - move to a Premier League rival.

Manchester United boss 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 targets for Ferguson, 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, encouraging suitors that they can prise him away from north London.