Blues want to keep Gallas

Last updated at 12:13 12 May 2006

Chelsea defender William Gallas could be forced to remain at Stamford Bridge for the remaining year of his contract.

The 28-year-old has been reported to want to leave the Barclays Premiership club, although Chelsea have offered him a four-year deal to stay.

A statement from Chelsea read: "William Gallas has made a great contribution to Chelsea since he has been here and he has been offered a very good new contract in recognition of that.

"That contract is still on offer and we would like him to be at Chelsea for the next four years.

"If it is not accepted, then William is still under contract for one more year and we will not be encouraging offers for players that we want to keep.

"Under Premier League rules he would be able to leave at the end of next season on a free transfer."

Gallas announced his intention to move away from English football in an interview in today's L'Equipe newspaper.

Gallas, a France international who joined Chelsea from Marseille in 2001, said: "My decision has been taken and is definitive: I want to leave Chelsea. I want to experience another challenge.

"I've been with Chelsea for five years. I want to experience another league."

Gallas has been frequently linked with a move to AC Milan and Serie A could well be his next port of call.

He has helped Chelsea win back-to-back Premiership titles and is one of the few players to have survived and flourished from the era before owner Roman Abramovich and manager Jose Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge.

"The directors of Milan are interested in me, and I am interested in the idea of going to play over there," Gallas told the French newspaper.

A £6.2million signing by Claudio Ranieri, Gallas has been a mainstay of the Chelsea defence, whether in the centre or at full-back.

He has one year left on his existing contract and insists in today's interview that any move away from west London would be "not a question of money".

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