By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger refuses to believe that William Gallas has played his last game for Arsenal.

The centre back picked up a problem to his medial knee ligament at Villarreal on Tuesday and, as a result, will be sidelined for 10 weeks.

That almost certainly ends his participation in the 2008-09 season and it has been suggested that he’ll be leaving in the summer after a tough campaign that saw him lose the captaincy.

But when questioned at Thursday’s press conference, Wenger’s response was defiant.

“That’s a big question,” he said. “He has a year left on his contract. I envisage him to be here next year.

“He had a challenging season but I believe he had to cope with a major disappointment. You have to give him a lot of credit because he came back with great performances so he dealt well with the situation.

“He turns up in the big games with goals – when it matters. And that was a good surprise.”

Wenger used the same word about his chances of being involved again this term.

“He has a grade two medial knee ligament injury,” said the manager. “If he comes back before the end of the season it will be a good surprise.

“I don’t really know how they measure the grades but I think it’s the degree of laxity and instability. Cesc Fabregas was a two as well, but William's is a bit less than Fabregas.”

Given that the Spaniard has just returned after three and a half months out of the side, Gallas’ chances of playing again this season must be rated as very slim.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 10 Apr 2009