Flamini has weekend to decide future

LONDON COLNEY (Reuters) - Midfielder Mathieu Flamini has been given the weekend to decide if he wants a new contract with Arsenal, manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday.

Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini (L) looks at his coach Arsene Wenger during a news conference at the San Siro stadium in Milan March 3, 2008. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The 24-year-old Frenchman, linked by British media with a future move to Juventus or AC Milan, is a free agent at the end of the season and has yet to agree a new deal.

Asked about Flamini’s contract situation, Wenger told a news conference: “Mathieu could answer that much better than I could. At the moment, we have no news from him but at the latest we expect it to be decided over the weekend.

“He tells me he wants to stay and I want him to stay but it will be down to numbers as well as we want to respect our wage structure.

“It is important to keep the core of the team together. We have shown we have the quality and now we need to improve in certain areas.”

After a long spell at the top of the Premier League table, Arsenal have slipped to third place, four points behind leaders Manchester United and Chelsea.

“When we have lost games, it is not because we have given away a lot more chances than any other team - it is because we have been punished in the air and that’s what we want to rectify,” Wenger said.

The Frenchman also said he was surprised by Thursday’s resignation of Keith Edelman as managing director, following eight successful years on the Arsenal board.

But Wenger added: “I don’t think it will change much in terms of the football side of things. The money available won’t change either.”

Arsenal play their penultimate game of the season on Sunday at home to Everton.

Editing by Trevor Huggins