Samir Nasri has left Arsenal in a worrying state of limbo by failing to sign a lucrative new contract with the club.
With Cesc Fabregas a continued transfer target for Barcelona and Real Madrid, Arsenal face the prospect of a summer fending off interest in their two most productive outfield players.
Both Manchester United and Chelsea are in the market for a midfield playmaker and have been alerted to the Nasri's potential availability.
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In Serie A, Inter Milan have asked to be kept informed of developments with the France midfielder as they prepare improvements to their squad.
Nasri's situation is particularly perplexing as Arsenal believed they had an agreement on a four-season deal that would have almost doubled the his annual salary to £5 million (Dh30.3m). But before Nasri, 26, signed the new contract, Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona, lost the League Cup final to Birmingham City and exited the FA Cup to United at Old Trafford.
It is understood that Nasri's agent, Jean-Pierre Bernes, is now seeking assurances on Arsenal's summer transfer strategy as well as improved financial terms for a client nominated for the PFA's player-of-the-year award.
Negotiations have not been aided by Arsene Wenger distrust of the agent's association with Marseille's tainted French championship successes of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
And Wenger has become an increasingly angry and confrontational figure as his team's results have declined - last week he accused the respected Spanish football magazine Don Balon of "twisting" the words of Fabregas into criticism of the club.
The publication subsequently released a recording in which the player says Arsenal have to make a decision between developing talent or winning titles, and that major Spanish clubs would not have allowed their managers to go almost six seasons without claiming a trophy, as Wenger has.
Though Fabregas asked to be allowed to join Barcelona following a €35m bid last summer, he was held to a contract that runs until the summer of 2015. The player's agent, Darren Dein, has subsequently held meetings with Barcelona and Madrid in which Fabregas' future was discussed.
While Arsenal remain in a strong contractual position over their captain, they risk losing Nasri for nothing in 12 months time if they cannot persuade the French international to sign a new deal. The Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, who is preparing a summer overhaul of his playing staff, believes that Fernando Torres requires a pass-making midfielder of Nasri's type to recover his past form. And Manchester United are in the market for at least two new midfielders and regard Nasri as an alternative to Inter Milan and Netherlands playmaker Wesley Sneijder.
Both clubs have also made inquiries about Spain Under-21 goalkeeper David de Gea, who is expected to leave Atletico Madrid this summer though a transfer fee has yet to be agreed.