Arsene Wenger said yesterday that he would not be tempted to leave Arsenal to take over at Real Madrid next season following their elimination from the Champions League that may see coach Manuel Pellegrini fired at the end of the season.
Last summer, the Real president Florentino Perez made a major play to persuade Wenger to take over as coach and, having lost 2-1 on aggregate to Lyons this week, will surely target him again. Wenger stated yesterday that he would see out his contract at Arsenal which runs to the summer of next year.
Wenger (below) also said that he believed he could keep William Gallas at the club despite the defender attracting interest from Roma who could get him on a Bosman free transfer when he comes out of contract in June.
Wenger said: "I am not concerned [about Gallas leaving]. He is under contract until 30 June. We have not found an agreement yet. I meet his agents again next Thursday and we will try to find a solution.
"I would like to keep all the [details of why Gallas has not yet signed an extension] secret. I feel I have to respect both parties and not to come out about the details of negotiations. I do not know if he has spoken to Roma, but he is out of contract and can talk to whom he wants. William is speaking to us and our desire is to keep him here. I think he wants to stay here."
Gallas is out of tomorrow's game at Hull City and Wenger said it would be a "miracle" if Cesc Fabregas was fit to play. Wenger said: "His chances of playing are 0.5 per cent – that means unless a miracle happens, he will not play. At the moment, Cesc is out of [the Hull] game." There are also fitness doubts over Tomas Rosicky and Sol Campbell.
Wenger said that he would not be persuaded to break his contract with Arsenal this summer, whatever Real offered. He said there was "no way" he would consider it. "I'm always going to the end of my contract, which finishes in 2011," he said.
On the £250m that Madrid spent last summer, Wenger said: "It doesn't buy you the Champions League necessarily, if you can spend it every year you will get there. It is the first year of Florentino Perez being back, you have to give him time, because he will invest again next year and they will be a force again. But it's of course difficult to take.
"In the last five years we have been in the final, semi-final two times, quarter-final, so the consistency is the most difficult to achieve at the top level because there are so many teams that want to be there."