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Reds ready to put 2014 behind them

Liverpool
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By ESPN Staff

Clichy ready to sign new deal

Arsenal defender Gael Clichy has revealed he is on the brink of signing a new four-year deal with the club.

Clichy has made the left-back role at Emirates Stadium his own following Ashley Cole's departure Chelsea in 2006.

And some solid performances this season - where he was the only player to feature in every single one of Arsenal's Premier League games - won him a place in the PFA team of the year.

The 22-year-old has attracted interest from the likes of AC Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid, but insists he wants to remain in north London.

'We're at the end of our discussions,' Clichy told www.francefootball.fr. 'Everything's going well because my intention is clear: I want to stay at Arsenal.

'I would love to have a career here like Patrick Vieira or Thierry Henry, to stay many years at Arsenal and leave my mark on the club.

'I've been in London for five years. If everything goes well I will stay here for at least eight years.'

Clichy's current contract expires in 2010, a year before boss Arsene Wenger's, and the youngster claims his manager was a major factor in his decision to extend his deal.

'We're talking about a further two years,' Clichy added. 'And in that period, the coach will still be at the club.

'It's him who brought me here; it's him who built this young team. It's a superb plan to throw yourself into the future with this group here. I never hesitated, not at all. Arsenal is one of the great clubs in Europe.

'For youngsters it's ideal, the coach gets our career's going, gives us confidence. We're playing in a passionate championship, the best in the world. So there's everything together.'

Out-of-contract midfielder Mathieu Flamini has already opted to sign for AC Milan and Alex Hleb has been persistently linked with a move to rivals Inter, but Clichy insists he never had any thoughts of doing the same.

Despite all the disappointments this season, which saw the young Gunners set the pace at the top of the Premier League only for their challenge to fade over the closing weeks along with any European dreams, the Frenchman is in no doubt they will be stronger for the experience.

'Everyone makes their own decision,' continued Clichy. 'I respect Mathieu's choice - AC Milan isn't an opportunity that comes around often.

'But it's not because this one or that one is going that I'm going to follow them. Even if it's possible to experience great things elsewhere, in other leagues, I am persuaded that with our team we can go very, very far.

'It's been a very frustrating season. We were good for seven months, with attractive football and results and were giving good performances in the Champions League.

'Then in two or three matches, we were beaten. But we can use all that for next season. It mustn't be forgotten that we have certainly the youngest team in the Premier League.'