By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger can do nothing to stem the flow of speculation over William Gallas’ future – but the Arsenal manager is determined to keep the French defender at Emirates Stadium.

The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and talks are continuing between Gallas’ representatives and Arsenal. But the centre back is free to speak to other clubs and in recent days he has been linked with a move to Roma in Serie A.

Wenger acknowledged the latest Gallas rumour when it was put to him at his pre-match press conference but he reiterated his desire to agree a new deal with the former Arsenal captain. 

“You [the media] can link him with who you want, because he is out of contract and can talk to whom he wants,” said Wenger.

“I do not know if he has spoken to Roma but he is speaking to us and our desire is to keep him here.

“I think he wants to stay here, all the rest is difficult to know whether it is true or not.”

Back in November, Wenger insisted he was “confident” of securing Gallas’ services beyond this season but the Frenchman is not worried that the talks have yet to reach a conclusion. Moreover, he would not disclose whether the length of Gallas’ proposed new deal was a sticking point in the negotiations.

“I am not concerned,” said Wenger. “He [Gallas] is under contract until the 30th June. We have not found an agreement yet. I will meet his agents again next Thursday and we will try to find a solution.

“I would like to keep all that secret. It is very difficult for me to come out [and discuss the contract talks]. I feel I have to respect both parties and not to come out about the details of negotiations.”

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11 Mar 2010