Gilberto's promise to Arsenal on contract discussions

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The Independent Football

Gilberto Silva has promised Arsenal any discussions over a new contract will not become as difficult as the ones involving fellow Brazilian Edu. The 28-year-old midfielder has another season left on his current deal but is eager to commit his future to Highbury.

Gilberto Silva has promised Arsenal any discussions over a new contract will not become as difficult as the ones involving fellow Brazilian Edu. The 28-year-old midfielder has another season left on his current deal but is eager to commit his future to Highbury.

Gilberto is mindful of the protracted discussions with Edu that have eventually resulted in his fellow countryman deciding to leave Arsenal. However, he insists his desire to stay in London is so strong, negotiations should be smooth.

"I haven't spoken to the club about a new contract yet, but hopefully we will have some discussions when I come back off my holidays," the Brazilian international said. "I only have one year left but I am confident it will be sorted out. It's obvious when negotiations take a long time, things can become difficult. But I am confident there will be no problems with me. My situation is easy - I want to stay where I am."

The back injury Gilberto picked up in September, which eventually ruled him out for six months, has been cited by observers as a major reason for Arsenal's failure to mount a forceful challenge to Chelsea in the Premiership.

It is no coincidence that of the 17 games he played this season, they lost only one, at Birmingham on the final day of the league campaign. However, while Wenger may be confident of an upturn in fortunes if Gilberto and the skipper Patrick Vieira stay fit for the whole of next season, the players are looking at more specific areas.

For Gilberto that means picking up more points against title rivals. Two draws against Chelsea and a two defeats to Manchester United were a sorry return from matches Arsenal needed to claim at least a share of the spoils from.

And that is where Gilberto feels the improvement is required if the Arsenal's title aspirations are to be realised in 12 months' time. "We need to think about the whole season, then, when we come back we must look at what we need to win the league again," he said. "One area we must look at is the need to do better in bigger matches. Chelsea and Manchester United are our biggest rivals and they are looking to win the same trophies as we are."

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