By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger has reacted angrily to persistent questioning about the future of Cesc Fabregas.
The Arsenal midfielder has been continually linked with a move back to Spain and, on Friday once again, his name was mentioned on the back pages in the same sentence as Barcelona.
At his press conference later that day, Wenger was not willing to speculate about Fabregas but he admitted the future of William Gallas was open to question. The crucial difference was the length of their contracts.
"At some stage, the Club has the final word," said the Arsenal manager. "I believe if a player is injured for two years and he has a contract, you pay that player for two years. So, I cannot sit here every week and answer the same question about players who have a four or five-year contract.
"Every week, in every press conference, I get asked if Fabregas will stay or not. Frankly, I believe it is not serious. The players are under contract and I always have to answer this.
"If the players are free, I will tell you. Gallas can sign where he wants. We are trying to re-sign him but he is legally free to sign where he wants so I can tell you I don't know where he will go. Maybe he will stay, maybe he will go. But when the players are under contract, why should we answer the same questions? Every week, it is exactly the same with Fabregas. Why? I don't know.
"When you sign a contract with a player, he commits his future to the club and I am surprised that you question the contracts of the players. You act as if the contract doesn't mean anything. In what kind of society do we live?
"Nobody puts a gun to your head when you sign a contract. We have more players who want to join us than players who want to leave us but you always put us in a position where we have to defend the players we want to keep who are under contract.
"It should be absolutely logical to you that a player who is paid as he is paid respects his contract. I respect my contract because I have loyalty to the players so why should the players not respect theirs?
"We have gone for a policy of development of the team over a longer period. We have stood up for these young players so it is down to them to pay us back, stay together and show that we can be successful together."