Friday, 19 March 2010

The Arsenal Paper Round: Friday March 19

William Gallas, originally uploaded by Ashburton Grove Blog.

Morning Gooners.

Quite a bit going on today, despite Arsene not holding his press conference until later, because of the Champions League draw.

One topic which Arsene dealt with yesterday was a meeting with William Gallas' advisors about a contract extension.

Gallas becomes a free agent in June and is able to speak to any European team now to discuss his future employment.

Arsene has made it quite clear that he wants to keep Gallas, but the defender is holding out for more than the one year deal the club are offering him.

You can understand his position. When Mikaƫl Silvestre was signed he was given a two year deal, despite being over 30.

And with Silvestre looking unlikely to be offered a new deal, Philippe Senderos also out of contract and Sol Campbell in a position where a new deal looks unlikely, Gallas has a strong hand.

If all three were to leave, it would leave us with just Thomas Vermaelen and Johan Djourou as the only two recognised first team central defenders.

It would leave us in an interesting and worrying position.

Gallas won't be fit for the West Ham game tomorrow or the game at Birmingham next Saturday.

The only other topic on offer is the Champions League draw which takes place this morning. The draw is not only for the quarter-finals but for the semi-finals as well.

Former gunner Oleg Luzhny, now assistant coach at Dinamo Kiev, hopes we will avoid Manchester United in the draw.

He told the Daily Mirror:
"I think Arsenal would do better not to draw an English team.
"They'd do better against the continental teams because Manchester United are so strong right now.
"I think the favourites to win the tournament are Arsenal, Barcelona and Inter Milan. I think two of these teams will be in the final."
Yaya Toure has ruled out a move to us in the Daily Mirror. As I've said before, if we were interested in him we would have signed him a long time ago.

While the Guardian report that Ryan Shawcross has yet to hear from Aaron Ramsey, after his late and dangerous tackle broke our young midfielder's leg.

He said:
"I have made efforts, I've left him messages and a text, and nothing has been returned but that's up to Aaron.
"Will I see him? I might do in the future but it's totally up to Aaron. I haven't spoken to him. It's up to him whether he gets back to me, there is a lot of emotion going on and he's probably trying to concentrate on having his rehab done and that's fair enough."

And finally, another Arsenal name makes it into the Times' 100 most powerful people in sport. Stan Kroenke comes in at number 21.

I'll have more on twitter later about the Champions League and perhaps a blog post on my thoughts on the draw later.

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