Gunner: Nasri has not signed up yet

Arsenal insist reports they have signed Marseille’s attacking midfielder Samir Nasri for £12.5m are premature.

The French international’s arrival is likely to take place in the next couple of days – and could hurry the departure of Alexander Hleb, with Spanish giants Barcelona said to be preparing a bid of similar financial weight.

It is believed Arsenal will make no formal announcement of Nasri’s capture until all documents, including international clearance, are completed.

A club spokesperson said: “There has been no signing yet. In line with our usual policy, we will only announce when they are done.”

However, manager Arsene Wenger, who maintains Belarus star Hleb will not be allowed to buy out the remaining two years of his Arsenal contract, wants to recruit the Frenchman before the start of the Euro 2008 finals next weekend and confirmation is expected in the next 48 hours.

Nasri, 20, can operate on the left of midfield, where Hleb has been playing, or through the middle, where Arsenal have a hole to fill following the exit of fellow Frenchman Mathieu Flamini to AC Milan.

Nasri has been tagged in France as ’the new Zinedine Zidane’ after the Algerian-born former Les Bleus captain and has already scored his first goal for the senior national side.

He has been named in Raymond Domenech’s Euro 2008 squad but Wenger has been trailing him for a while and wants to move in now before prices go up if Nasri proves a star in Austria and Switzerland.

Wenger has been encouraged by recent suggestions from the Arsenal board he will have more financial clout in the transfer market this summer and has so far not wavered on his determination to keep Hleb, 27, despite constant reports the player is on his way to Italian champions Inter Milan – or Spain, with either Real Madrid or Barcelona said to be interested.

Now media reports in Germany have quoted former Hamburg SV star Hleb as saying claims he wants to leave Arsenal are “nonsense” and he loves the club and has great respect for boss Wenger.

However, Hleb’s representative Uli Ferber told the Daily Telegraph: “It is always a great honour that a club like Real Madrid is interested in him.

“This confirms the good work that Hleb has been doing in these last few years that he is being recognised by one of the greatest clubs in the world.”

The latest speculation is Ferber and Hleb met Barcelona’s sporting director Txiki Begiristain in Kaiserslautern this week before the friendly international clash between Belarus and Germany and Barca are close to making a £12m offer to Arsenal.

More in this Section

FA to investigate allegations of racist abuse in Manchester derbyFA to investigate allegations of racist abuse in Manchester derby

Ljungberg calls on senior players to deliver for ArsenalLjungberg calls on senior players to deliver for Arsenal

Revenge is sweet for Anthony Joshua after beating Andy RuizRevenge is sweet for Anthony Joshua after beating Andy Ruiz

Anthony Joshua wins world heavyweight title rematch against Ruiz JrAnthony Joshua wins world heavyweight title rematch against Ruiz Jr


Lifestyle

This Christmas remember that there is no such thing as cheap food.Buy local: Use your LOAF

As we wait, eager and giddy, a collective shudder of agitated ardor ripples through the theatre, like a Late, Late Toyshow audience when they KNOW Ryan’s going to give them another €150 voucher. Suddenly, a voice booms from the stage. Everyone erupts, whooping and cheering. And that was just for the safety announcement.Everyman's outstanding Jack and the Beanstalk ticks all panto boxes

Every band needs a Bez. In fact, there’s a case to be made that every workplace in the country could do with the Happy Mondays’ vibes man. Somebody to jump up with a pair of maracas and shake up the energy when things begin to flag.Happy Mondays create cheery Tuesday in Cork gig

More From The Irish Examiner