Saturday, November 10, 2007

Gilberto to finish career at Arsenal

Brazilian holding midfielder Gilberto Silva wants to finish his career at Arsenal despite spending most of this season on the bench.

At 31, the Brazil captain is well past the age at which Arsene Wenger usually encourages players to move on, but Gilberto would like to lengthen his Arsenal contract (which still has more than a year to go).

"It is not just down to me, but it would be great if I extended my contract with the club and finish my career here," Gilberto said. "We will see if the club has the same feeling.

"I am not thinking about leaving the club now. I prefer to think that I have the condition to get back in the team. I will do my job; do my best to achieve that. This is what I have in mind."

Gilberto was one of the brightest spots in Arsenal's disappointing fourth place finish last year, but he has spent much of this season on the sidelines following the impressive form of Mathieu Flamini.

Because of this, the Arsenal vice-captain has been linked with a move away from the Emirates, with Juventus and Valencia both wooing the player. These links to Spain and Italy were compounded by media reports that Gilberto had fallen out with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Gilberto rubbished these reports.

"This is not true. If I have said something to Arsene, it would never come out in the papers," Gilberto said. "I would go to him and speak to him face-to-face; we have great respect for each other.

"Everyone knows I am not 100 percent happy to be on the bench, that's normal but I am being professional and doing my job.

"I respect everybody in the squad, I respect him and I respect his decision. It's the only thing I can do."

Gilberto is a great professional, and Jens Lehmann could certainly learn something from the Brazilian. I hope that he stays true to our club, as his experience could prove to be invaluable in what seems sure to be a tough title challenge.