Pires ready to leave for Villarreal after Champions' League final

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The Independent Football

Robert Pires has admitted there is a "good chance" that he could join Arsenal's Champions' League opponents Villarreal after being offered a two-year contract by the Spanish outfit.

The 32-year-old's deal with the Gunners runs out in the summer and although the Frenchman has been offered a one-year deal he wants a two-year contract.

"I am happy because I will end my contract with Arsenal and I know that Villarreal want me for the next two years," Pires said. "We still have to talk though and I expect this conversation will be at the end of the season.

"At the moment, the most important thing for me is to help Arsenal to the Champions' League final and then later I will decide if I stay here or I go to Spain and Villarreal."

His Arsenal team-mate Sol Campbell has been ruled out of tomorrow's north London derby against his former club Tottenham. The 31-year-old has failed to recover from surgery on the broken nose he received against Portsmouth last week. He could, however, return for the Champions' League semi-final second leg against Villarreal next Tuesday.

"Sol is not back for Saturday but he should be involved for Tuesday," Wenger said. The Portsmouth game was Campbell's first appearance since he was substituted at half-time during the 3-2 defeat to West Ham on 1 February. Campbell immediately left Highbury and was given an extended leave of absence.

Injury delayed his comeback and then he required an operation on his nose after a clash with Svetoslav Todorov in the late stages at Fratton Park, a match that finished 1-1.

Campbell will have a maximum of six games to prove his fitness to England manager Sven Goran Eriksson ahead of this summer's World Cup finals.

Meanwhile, Ashley Cole will be out of action for a further two weeks despite making a midweek comeback for Arsenal's reserves following an ankle complaint, although Gaël Clichy may be ready to return sooner from his foot injury.

Wenger explained: "Gaël Clichy looks ready but I don't know how much he is free pain-wise in his foot.

"Ashley looks completely free of pain but looks to be behind Gaël fitness-wise. Let's give him two more weeks before he is completely ready to play."

Wenger has not yet decided whether he will field a weakened team against Spurs to keep his players fresh for Europe.

* The Premier League has lobbied Uefa to change rules that could deny Tottenham a place in the Champions' League next season. Spurs will play in the Uefa Cup even if they finish fourth should their rivals Arsenal win the European Cup.

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