Mon, Aug 07, 2006 - Page 18 News List

William Gallas wants to move to Arsenal

AFP , LONDON

France international central defender William Gallas relations with Premiership champions Chelsea deteriorated further yesterday when his agent revealed he would like to move to Arsenal.

Pierre Frelot told the News of the World that Gallas was determined to leave despite being offered a new four year contract of £80,000 (US$152,673) a week.

The 28-year-old -- a £6 million signing from Marseille five years ago -- has been keen to leave since May because he does not like playing at fullback, instead of his preferred central defensive role in which he excelled at the World Cup where France reached the final and lost to Italy in a penalty shootout.

"William has decided to leave," Frelot said. "Arsenal are interested and we have to find an agreement with Chelsea, even if I know they will do everything to keep him."

"Chelsea have made us a very good offer to sign a new contract but William would like to go and we will see what happens." he said. "However, I don't know if Chelsea will agree to sell him to one of their greatest rivals."

Should Chelsea give way and let Gallas, who has played over 200 times for Chelsea and was pivotal in their two title wins, go he could be used as part of a deal with Arsenal over their England international right back Ashley Cole, who has been a long time target of the Blues manager Jose Mourinho.

Gallas, who has also been linked with Italian giants AC Milan, provoked a wider rift earlier this week when he failed to arrive on time for their tour of the US and was told not to bother turning up at all.

Mourinho has condemned the player's "lack of respect" and stripped him of his number 13 shirt, giving it to newcomer Michael Ballack, who had originally been give the No 19 shirt.

Speaking in Los Angeles last Wednesday, Mourinho said the whole team were upset at Gallas' actions.

"Everybody is upset because we had a strong family and a strong group and this has shown a lack of respect to everybody and I don't like that," he said.

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