By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger has no intention of selling Samir Nasri because he says it would undermine Arsenal's claims to be an ambitious club.
The French midfielder's current contract expires next summer and his refusal to sign a new deal has prompted a wave of speculation about his future with both Manchester clubs reportedly leading the race for Nasri's signature.
The theory is that Arsenal would rather cash in on the 24-year-old than risk losing him on a Bosman free transfer at the end of the season, but Wenger does not see it that way. He insists that the Club needs Nasri more than it needs the money - and that's why selling him is not on Wenger's agenda.
"Samir's situation is clear for me - he stays," Wenger reiterated when he spoke to reporters in Malaysia.
"I've told you that we are in a position where we can say 'No.' And we will [in the case of Nasri]."
It was put to Wenger that keeping Nasri with no guarantee that he will sign a new contract represents a £20million gamble - the fee his suitors are reportedly prepared to pay.
"You are the same people who reproach me for not spending money and now you reproach me for wanting to spend it!" replied Wenger.
"It is in the interests of the Club," he went on. "Imagine the worst situation - we lose Fabregas and Nasri - you cannot convince people you are ambitious after that.
"And even if you lose Nasri, to find the same quality player, you have to spend again the same amount of money. Because you cannot say that you lose the player and you do not replace him.
“I believe for us it is important that the message we give out - for example you see about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving - if you give that message out you cannot pretend you are a big club.
“Because a big club first of all holds onto its big players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they just cannot come in and take [players] away from you.
“We worked very hard with these players for years to develop them and now it’s time for us to keep them together.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source