Gunner Gilberto could be a goner - while Gallas captaincy is uncertain
Arsenal could be fighting a player exodus at the end of the season, if reports are to be believed, writes Jem Maidment. Veterans Jens Lehmann and Gilberto – both part of the 2003-2004 Invincibles squad – look likely to move on during the summer. But of mo
Arsenal could be fighting a player exodus at the end of the season, if reports are to be believed, writes Jem Maidment.
Veterans Jens Lehmann and Gilberto - both part of the 2003-2004 Invincibles squad - look likely to move on during the summer.
But of more concern, inspirational midfielder Mathieu Flamini has yet to agree a new deal, despite assurances from within the club he is ready to sign an improved five-year contract.
His current deal runs out in less than two months.
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Several top European clubs are also believed to be tracking Belarus winger Alexander Hleb, who has twisted and turned his way into the hearts of Arsenal fans, despite a poor run of form in recent weeks.
His agent Nikolai Shpilevski made no secret of the fact a host of clubs are eyeing the star.
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He was this week quoted as saying: "I'm often approached about Alex. I have nothing to hide.
"Real Madrid, Juventus, Internazionale and Barcelona are interested in him - but there are no special offers."
Arsene Wenger admitted that his big summer challenge is to keep his squad together.
But he maintained he would not be afraid of entering into the transfer market - and spending big.
"If we have the money and I am convinced it is worth it, we will do it," said Wenger.
But disunity within the club has been rumoured. Philippe Senderos was reportedly inconsolable after his hapless display in the 2-4 loss at Liverpool last week and was given two days off to recover.
Sources indicated he cried in the dressing room afterwards. Criticism from fans and former players alike will not have helped his mood, although his emotional response may quieten some cynics.
In addition, captain William Gallas' captaincy may have to be examined at season's end.
Ex-Gunner Lee Dixon said this week sources close to the club have told him several players have lost confidence in the Frenchman.
"Players were looking at the captain and asking 'what is he doing?'" said Dixon.
"Real captains cannot let their emotions take over - Gallas doesn't appear capable of that.