Is Arsenal’s Samir Nasri worth the gamble Arsene Wenger is taking?

Gunners won’t sell to Manchester City or Manchester United now, but that could play into the hands of their biggest rivals

Arsenal know that they are taking a massive gamble by deciding not to sell contract rebel Samir Nasri – and one that could spectacularly backfire in a year’s time.

Arsene Wenger was adamant earlier this week that Nasri will not be sold by Arsenal this summer, no matter what price is offered from the limitless bank balance of Manchester City.

That runs the very real risk of Nasri leaving on a Bosman free transfer in June 2012 when his current contract expires.

Wenger was asked on Monday if he thought that it was worth more to have Nasri for an additional season and risk losing him for nothing next summer than to cash in onn him now?

His answer was instant and unequivocal: “Yes.”

He continued: You [the press] are the same people who reproach me for not spending money and now you reproach me for wanting to spend it! It is in the interests of the club.

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“If you lose Nasri, to find the same quality player, you have to spend again the same amount of money because you cannot say you lose the player and you do not replace him.

“And the other clubs who come to take him have scouts all over the world as well but if they come to us for our player...”, he trailed off. But the insinuation was clear. Other clubs like City can buy anybody, but they are choosing to try and buy Nasri, because there are not too many like him around.

However, while Wenger exercises the club’s power over Nasri this summer and, as now looks likely, forces him to stay, the opposite will be true this time next year.

Not even that far away, in fact, as Nasri would be allowed to sign a pre-contract arrangement with another club from January 1.

Then, of course, Nasri can choose any club he likes, and he may not decide on City.

The other club who have lodged a firm, definite interest in Nasri this summer are, of course, Manchester United, while Chelsea are also known to be keen as their search for a midfield playmaker looks set to have hit the buffers with Luka Modric.

Both clubs would perhaps be happy to wait until January, and do a deal for Nasri.

Wenger’s stance over Nasri is admirable, but if the player heads to Chelsea or United for free next summer, it will be one that comes back to haunt him.