Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that Samir Nasri has agreed to leave Arsenal - but not to join Manchester United.
The United manager made his comments shortly after arriving in Boston on the first leg of his club's five-match United States tour. With Paul Scholes now retired, Ferguson is on the look-out for a replacement.
Wesley Sneijder and Luka Modric have been linked with an Old Trafford move, but so has Nasri, with United said to have had a £20million bid for the France midfielder turned down. Ferguson said: "I don't think he is coming to United. That is all I can tell you. I think that he has agreed to go somewhere else."
Nasri has gone on tour with Arsenal to Malaysia and manager Arsene Wenger has indicated he may keep the player for the final year of his contract, and thus risk losing him for nothing in 12 months' time.
"That is his decision," said Ferguson. "He is the manager.
"If he stands by that decision, it is a brave one. I don't know if the (Arsenal) directors will enjoy that one, but it is possible. Maybe he will have to stay."
However, if he is not going to get Nasri, Ferguson refuses to abandon the idea of bringing in anyone, even if a like-for-like replacement for Scholes is beyond his imagination.
"It is impossible to get another Paul Scholes," he said. "But if we get a player along similar lines in terms of the quality of his passing and vision, we would have to do something.
"The difficulty is, if you picked the best four midfield players in the world, Scholes would be there with Xavi and Andres Iniesta. Then you could take a pick from somewhere else.
"It is a loss. How do we overcome it? The next few weeks could help us in that respect. Someone could emerge out of the youth team and we carry on."