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The England defender described the Gunners midfielder as an 'excellent player' but has insisted that he made the comment before the speculation regarding the Frenchman's future

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has stated that his quotes about Premier League rival Samir Nasri have been taken out of context, as the quotes were from before the speculation surrounding the midfielder began.

Ferdinand had initially said: "Samir Nasri is an excellent player...for me, he is one of the best players right now."

However, Ferdinand took to his personal Twitter account to provide some background to the quote.

He tweeted: "My quotes about Samir Nasri are not recent (not that the papers let u know this) I spoke about him waaaaay before any speculation started."

Nasri has one year remaining on his contract, and has commented on a French television programme that he did not know whether he would be signing a new contract at Arsenal, before failing to rule out a move to Old Trafford.

Arsenal are loathe to lose such an influential figure for free at the end of his contract next year, but manager Arsene Wenger stated that they would not be selling him to Manchester United, whatever happened.

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