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Player Profile – William Gallas

William Gallas is a graduate of the French Football academy at Clairefontaine. He started his professional career at second division SM Caen helping them to promotion as champions in 1996

Then Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri bought Gallas from Marseille in May 2001 for £6.2 million. He chose the number 13 shirt because it was his postcode back when he lived in Marseille

Gallas was part of Chelsea’s team which won back-to-back Premier League titles and a League Cup under Ranieri’s successor José Mourinho. The Blues also made the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League that year

Gallas was forced to play out of position. Despite the purchase of Asier del Horno from Athletic Bilbao for £8 million in the 2005 close season, Gallas found himself often playing on the left, a situation he got increasingly frustrated with

Gallas’s contract with Chelsea was due to expire in May 2007. He refused to sign a new contract with Chelsea on improved terms after saying the club didn’t offer him enough money and expressed a wish to play in Serie A, with Juventus and A.C. Milan both interested

After the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Gallas refused to turn up at Chelsea’s pre-season American tour,[2] citing tiredness after the tournament. Upon assigning squad numbers the club gave new arrival Michael Ballack Gallas’ number 13 shirt as a punishment for not turning up

Despite reported links with several clubs around Europe, a move out of England looked unlikely. The 2006 Serie A scandal stopped any interest from Juventus or A.C. Milan, and the only club to express an interest was Arsenal.
On 1 September 2006, Gallas transferred to Arsenal as part of a deal that took Ashley Cole to Chelsea[3] and Arsenal also received the sum of £5 million. The press reported that José Mourinho was furious Gallas had been allowed to move to their rivals
Gallas signed a four-year contract with Arsenal, where he took the number 10 shirt vacated by the recently-retired Dennis Bergkamp. In an interview in the October 2006 issue of the Official Arsenal Magazine, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger explained the rather peculiar decision to hand him the squad number 10

Gallas made his full debut for The Gunners at left-back in the 1-1 home draw against Middlesbrough on 9 September 2006 and scored his first goal against Sheffield United on 23 September 2006.

Gallas was confirmed as Arsenal captain on 9 August 2007, with Kolo Touré, serving as vice-captain. This caused some controversy as Gilberto Silva was expected to receive the captain’s arm band. Many people have questioned Wenger for this decision

On 24 November 2007 Gallas scored against Wigan when Bacary Sagna crossed in and Gallas fired a header through the arms of Wigan’s goalkeeper Pollitt to open the deadlock.

On 16 December 2007 Gallas scored against his old club Chelsea, which was to be the only goal in the match to secure 3 points for Arsenal. Gallas later reflected on his goal against former club Chelsea
When Gaël Clichy of Arsenal conceded a penalty in injury time at the end of the second half, Gallas walked into the Birmingham half, apparently in protest. He stood there as Birmingham striker James McFadden converted the penalty

Gallas also scored for Arsenal against Bolton in a 2-3 win on 29 March 2008, starting the comeback which 10-man Arsenal ultimately completed

In August 2008, it was announced that Gallas would remain the club’s captain for the 2008-2009 season.[9] In the 2008-09 season, Gallas has proved especially prolific in the Champions League

On 29 October 2008, he scored his first league goal of the season against Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium, scoring Arsenal’s second goal in a 4–4 draw

On 8 November 2008, in a 2–1 victory over Manchester United, he received praise for his display whilst playing alongside former United defender Mikaël Silvestre

In November, Gallas gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he revealed tensions within the squad which were disruptive to team morale, and suggested that Arsenal’s younger players needed to show more courage if they were to be successful

On 17 March 2009, Gallas scored the winner in a 2-1 win against Hull City in the quarter finals of the FA Cup.

Despite enduring a below-par season, William Gallas started the 2009-10 campaign in fine form, scoring 3 goals in his first 3 games. He has formed a partnership with Belgian centre back Thomas Vermaelen

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