Fergie backs Wenger over Nasri

Published Aug. 27, 2011 9:15 a.m. ET

The loss of Nasri to City, so soon after Cesc Fabregas left for Barcelona, is one of the key reasons why the Arsenal support has started to become disenchanted with their illustrious French manager. Ferguson will be doing his best to heap more misery onto the Gunners when they head to face his Manchester United side on Sunday. However, having operated in the same highly pressurised Premier League environment together for 15 years, Ferguson has some sympathy with his one-time adversary, with whom there has been a distinct thaw in relations. And in Nasri's case, Ferguson does not believe Arsenal had any option, other than to accept the £24million on offer from City. "We are all in the same boat," said the United chief. "When a player gets to the last two years of his contract, you have an issue. One: you persuade him to sign a new contract. Two: he doesn't want to sign a new contract. Three: When he gets to that last year, it is almost inevitable you have a problem. "We have had issues at times with players getting into the last year. We are not alone. "When a player is not going to sign a contract, you can threaten to keep him for another year and not get anything for him or capitalise and get the money. "It is sensible to take the money." Ferguson recognises the clear difference between that situation and the one that ended with Fabregas leaving for Barcelona. United faced much the same problem with Cristiano Ronaldo, whom Ferguson managed to keep at Old Trafford for six seasons before accepting a world record £80million fee from Real Madrid to allow the winger to follow his childhood dream. "The issue is, how long do you think you are going to have European players?" he said. "We like to think they will stay forever. Some have been very good that way. "With Cristiano, he always had this dream of wanting to play for Real Madrid. "Fabregas wanted to go back to Barcelona. You cannot become bitter about these things because it is the modern world." Despite this, Ferguson does not believe Arsenal are a team to be taken lightly. He was impressed by their performance in Italy on Wednesday, when victory over Udinese secured their place in the Champions League group stages, and feels there is enough talent at Wenger's disposal to remain wary. "Arsenal have still got forwards who can hurt anyone," he said. "It is easy for me on Sunday to have my team prepared because they know themselves they are playing a team with some quality. We have to be at our best no question."