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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Stayaway Gallas in showdown with Chelsea

William Gallas is in trouble with Chelsea after the club confirmed the player had not reported back for pre-season training.

The France defender made it public following their victory over Manchester United, which clinched the title, at the end of May that he sought a fresh challenge abroad.

Gallas has one year left on his contract but he was still asked by Jose Mourinho to join the squad in Los Angeles.

But he is in hot water having failed to join up with new signing Michael Ballack on Monday.

Chelsea could fine him for his conduct even though those close to the player claim there was a misunderstanding.

Gallas, 28, and team-mate Claude Makelele were given extra time off due to France's involvement in the World Cup final.

He is believed to have flown to the Caribbean for a holiday after Germany.

But this has cast a major doubt over his Chelsea future and has given Mourinho an unwelcome situation as he prepares his team for the defence of their title and assault on the Champions League.

Gallas had been attracting interest from Italy in the way of AC Milan and Juventus and his heart is away from Stamford Bridge.

A club statement read: 'William Gallas will not be joining up with Chelsea FC on the pre-season tour of the United States.

'Gallas was due to join the team with the other Chelsea players who participated in the World Cup semi-finals and final.

'William requested extra time off following the World Cup but was informed he should still report to Los Angeles on the date previously agreed with him. He did not report and further action will now be considered by the club as a consequence.

'Pre-season training and the tour is about building team spirit among our squad and extra leave is only granted for valid football-related reasons.

'Discussions between Chelsea and William about a new contract are already well documented and ongoing. He has one year left on his current contract.'