Bergkamp upset by delay on new deal

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The Independent Online

Dennis Bergkamp, the Arsenal striker, has revealed his growing frustration at the club's delay in deciding whether to offer him a final one-year contract.

Dennis Bergkamp, the Arsenal striker, has revealed his growing frustration at the club's delay in deciding whether to offer him a final one-year contract.

Bergkamp knows that, unless Arsenal offer him a new deal, last night's game against Everton could have been his last competitive match at Highbury after almost 10 years at the club.

However, he has yet to hear anything definitive and, as at the end of last season before he earned a 12-month extension, he is growing tired of the delay.

Bergkamp said: "It could be my last game at the stadium because we haven't sat down yet to talk. I am a bit upset over how it is going. It seems that every season it has to be like this and it is a bit frustrating. I said in November that I wanted to stay and I haven't changed my mind.

"Somehow they always want to leave it until the last minute. Maybe they want to see what comes their way or what will happen if I change my mind."

The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, had previously indicated that the club would offer a one-year deal to Bergkamp, who turned 36 on Monday. If Bergkamp does not receive an offer he will retire.

"I am a professional footballer but I am also a dad to four kids," he said. "You want to know what the future will bring. That's probably one of the points the club are not good at. I want to make clear there have been a lot of pluses in my time here and I am really happy. The only bad thing are these sorts of moments.

"I see it as fairly simple. I have said to the club, 'I can play another year. Do you want me?' It is up to them. I am not creating anything, but this isn't the first time it has been like this.

"The main thing for me is that I still want it. At any other club that should be enough. Somehow it is different here - and that annoys me a little bit."

Wenger was asked about Bergkamp's future last weekend, when he insisted he still needed to talk to the striker. "I don't know yet what I want to do. We have to sit down together and see what his plan is," he said.

"I need to give some other players a chance as, at 36, you can't say you can go on for years to come with Dennis Bergkamp. He would be the first to agree with that.

"But the players can still learn from Dennis and he can still play games. He is already a mentor to the players at this club."

Wenger rejected the idea of offering Bergkamp a "pay as you play" deal that would be geared to his appearances.

"I won't do that with Dennis. It would be disrespectful to a guy who's been here for nine years at this level. You either give him a contract or not," he said.

Bergkamp's strike partner, Thierry Henry, admits it has been a difficult season for his club, but insists he is happy at Arsenal and has no intention of moving in the summer. The Frenchman believes Arsenal's problems began with the defeat to Manchester United that ended their unbeaten 49-game sequence in the League.

"That affected us badly, not so much because we lost, but because of the way we lost. That penalty they gave against us ... I could spend all day talking about the penalty," he said recalling the controversy surrounding Wayne Rooney's apparent dive.

"It has been difficult," he added, believing that taking revenge on Manchester United in the FA Cup final would only partly heal the wound. "We can still win the Cup, but the thing is when you play for teams such as Arsenal it is not enough to just win the League or the Cup. The same thing happens with Milan or Madrid, it just is not possible," said Henry.

Henry has ruled out joining Real Madrid or another side on the Continent to improve his chances of lifting further silverware - especially the European Cup.

"I am happy here. Madrid, Barça, Milan and Juventus were teams I dreamed about when I was young, but now it's a different story and I am happy in London," he said.

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