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Nov, 25, 2008

Gallas wants to stay at Arsenal, says agent

Shamed former Arsenal captain William Gallas is not looking to leave the Gunners. In spite of his recent demotion in the light of critical remarks about the team and questioning their fighting spirit, Gallas' agent says the Frenchman wants to stay. Paris St Germain has been mooted as one possible destination, but agent Etienne Mendy has dismissed reports his client wants to quit north London.

"William doesn't express himself and the English media take advantage of that," Mendy told French paper Aujourd'hui Sport.

"They haven't missed a chance to do that ever since his bad-mood gesture last year at Birmingham, and they envisage him leaving Arsenal. That is wrong."

Gallas was omitted from Arsenal's matchday squad for last Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Manchester City but will be recalled to the starting XI for Tuesday's Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev.

And Mendy predicted Gallas will come back better then ever. "He has taken the criticism and has already moved on," he said. "Anyway, William is never better than when he has his back to the wall."

Meanwhile, new skipper Cesc Fabregas will seek the advice of former skippers Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira as he looks to take the club forward.

Manager Arsene Wenger stripped former Chelsea defender William Gallas of the armband and left him out of the group at Manchester City on Saturday following his latest public criticism of the squad, questioning their fighting spirit and revealing details of a supposed troubled dressing room.

While Gallas, 31, has been reinstated to his defensive role for tonight's Champions League clash against Dynamo Kiev, Wenger decided enough was enough and moved to appoint 21-year-old Fabregas as the new permanent skipper, one of the youngest in the club's history.

The influential midfielder is already regarded as an integral part of Wenger's squad and intends to make the most of the opportunity, which cynics could suggest would be a further sweetener to ward off any potential transfer away from Emirates Stadium.

"It is certainly one of the best things that has happened to me in my career,'' said Fabregas, writing in his first programme notes as captain.

"It will make me keep my feet on the floor more than ever because I know I have a big responsibility, and I want to use it well.

"I want to keep things normal and do everything I can with my team-mates because the next few months will be very important for us.''

Fabregas revealed he would be looking to get some sound advice from two of the club's legends in Henry, now at Barcelona, and former midfield enforcer Vieira, currently at Inter Milan.

"I am lucky enough to have played under three great captains since I joined Arsenal and I would definitely like to take things from each of them,'' Fabregas said.

"Patrick Vieira was a truly amazing captain. He led by example, in the dressing room he was always relaxed, making jokes, talking to the guys - he was one of us. He never said too much before the games, but on the pitch you always knew you could count on him to go to war with you.

"Thierry was the best player in the world when he was here and was definitely a guy you knew would always be there at the decisive moment.

"I still speak to Thierry on the phone occasionally and will ask him about him. I have lost touch with Patrick a bit, but I would love to speak to him too about the job because he has so much experience.''

Fabregas also paid tribute to Gallas, whom Wenger felt had reacted to intense media scrutiny.

"I have a great respect for William,'' he said. "A lot of people from the outside have been very unfair with him because he is a great guy, a great professional and he always tries to do everything to help this club.

"You can never doubt his commitment to the club. It has been spot on since the first day and he has been a big, big player for us.''

Fabregas, who joined Arsenal as a youngster having come through the Barcelona youth ranks, intends to repay the faith of his manager.

"The boss told me on Sunday that I was a candidate for the job, and asked what I thought. I told him that of course I would love it,'' he said.

"I am sure it would be a great experience for me and I do not want to fail him, because he has given me everything in football.''

Fabregas added: "I am not a big shouter and to be honest I will not change my playing style now that I am captain.

"I will try to lead by example first of all which I have always tried to do anyway. Away from the pitch, I will try to be normal, be myself, and with the help of everyone else at the club I am sure we can get through this bad period and have a fresh new start this season.

"I can guarantee that I will do all that I can to help this club go as far as it can.''

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