Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Juventus want Gallas and Gilberto

Juventus director Alessio Secco has added William Gallas to his already long wishlist of London-based players. Juventus were already reportedly interested in Arsenal's out-of-favor defensive midfielder Gilberto Silva, as well as Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard from cross-town rivals, Chelsea.

The Brazilian captain, at 31 and the French defender, at 30, are the two oldest outfield players in Arsene Wenger's squad. Gilberto is also the longest serving player at Arsenal, having joined the club from Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro for £4.5 million in 2002.

Gilberto's experience is valuable to a side which features a spine of young players including Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, and Mathieu Flamini - Gilberto's replacement. However, the defensive midfielder will find it difficult to stay at Arsenal if he doesn't reclaim his starting berth soon. While he will want to stay at least long enough to win another Premiership title with Arsenal this year, he may be forced away from the club by up-and-coming playerss like Mathieu Flamini and Summer-signing Lassana Diarra. Unfortunately, I can definitely see this transfer materializing, maybe even as soon as this January.

William Gallas, on the other hand, is Arsenal's first choice partner to Kolo Toure at center-back, and with only Philippe Senderos and a host of midfielders competing for the spot, it doesn't look likely that he will soon lose his spot. However, while the French defender has stated that he is happy at the club, he has also made it clear that he will not stay for another season without silverware. While Arsenal are strong title-contenders (topping the league with a game in hand against our nearest rivals) nothing is certain in football, and I do believe the Frenchman would seek a way out if we fail to win anything this season.

Gallas must also be wondering how long he can last under Arsene Wenger. The Arsenal boss shows a clear affinity for young players, and has an inflexible policy of offering only one-year contracts to players over 30 years old. With legends such as Freddy Ljunbgerg, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, and Robert Pires being allowed to leave the Arsenal captain must be afraid that he will be the next to go, despite the fact that he was signed from Chelsea just last season.

I can't see Gallas' transfer happening any time before the Summer at the earliest, and if he is happy at the club, I would be happy to see him stay for a few more seasons (providing he is able to stay fit).