2006-08-22

Wenger talks about Gallas interest

The Gunners' manager, Arsene Wenger, thinks William Gallas would fit right in at Arsenal - and accepts his squad will seem "a bit light" should Ashley Cole leave and nobody replace the England player when the transfer window shuts.

As we know, the future of Ashley Cole remains uncertain despite his clear desire to leave and Wenger's willingness to let the 25-year-old go.

In fact, conversations between Arsenal and Chelsea have seemingly hit an impasse over the size of the transfer fee.

And while Wenger remains confident of strengthening his squad ahead of the end of the month, he would allow Cole to leave even if he were unable to bring in a replacement.

But with a firm offer put into the Premiership champions for versatile French defender Gallas, 29, the possibility remains it could just yet turn into a busy few days of negotiations between the two London rivals.

Wenger admitted that he likes his football: "I like the fact he (Gallas) is a good defender. He can play right-back, left-back, centre-back. And we want the player because we made an offer for him. That is clear. But we have not spoken to the player yet.

"You need to agree personal terms. We have a salary cap here and he comes from a club with no salary cap. I do not know if it is possible to agree personal terms and agree with Chelsea."

"If he comes here, frankly, he will have to come for less money."

"Sure we can make one exception (Thierry Henry) - but we cannot make five or six."

Wenger would not be drawn into whether he would be open to any swap deal involving the pair - and insisted: "William Gallas is not the only player we have a chance of getting.

"There is always a lot happening in the last few days - but he is a player we have a chance to get.

"I think he wants to leave Chelsea, Ashley Cole wants to leave us."

Wenger accepts the situation is far from ideal as he prepares for what is set to be another hectic domestic and European campaign, with the second leg of Arsenal's Champions League qualifier against Dinamo Zagreb tomorrow night.

He expressed: "It does not affect me because I am used to that, but I feel at some stage, you want to sort things out so your team focuses completely on what you want to achieve."

Wenger reflected: "If Cole was completely focused, and ready to go with us or if someone else with experience comes in, I feel we are strong enough and experienced enough."

He added: "We lost a lot of experienced players over the summer. The weight on the experienced players like Henry, Gilberto and Lehmann is stronger this year.

"So, they have a little bit more to carry. Last year, it was a bit more shared because when somebody had a little doubt they could speak with Pires or Bergkamp or with Campbell.

"In the end, we had a bit more weight in the dressing room. And of course, the responsibility of our experienced players is bigger than ever."

No comments: