Wenger 'certain' of Cole stay
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Arsene Wenger is '100% certain' that Ashley Cole will sign a new deal at Arsenal.Arsene Wenger has declared that he is '100 percent certain' that Chelsea target Ashley Cole will sign a new contract with Arsenal.
The impressive young left back has been at the centre of intense speculation ever since details emerged of a shady meeting between the player and Chelsea, with both parties yet to discover their fates after being charged by The FA for the 'tapping-up' storm.
Cole has emerged through the ranks at Highbury to become an integral part of both his club and country sides but a dispute over a new deal had put his future at the club in doubt.
With Jose Mourinho in the market for a new left back, it was widely rumoured that the 24-year-old would consider a controversial move across London after becoming frustrated with the Arsenal board and tempted by a huge pay rise
However Cole himself publicly reiterated his commitment to The Gunners' cause in recent days, and now Wenger has laid bare his concrete belief that the defender will extend his deal at Highbury.
"I'm 100 percent certain he will stay and sign a new contract," said Wenger.
"I think he is happy here and we want to keep our best players.
"[I am certain] because it is my desire and because he has a contract."
Arsenal face the daunting prospect of facing rivals Chelsea on Wednesday night, an experience not made any easier by the controversy surrounding Cole's position.
However Wenger is insistent that his young charge can handle the pressure associated with the tie, and, in trademark fashion, eloquently displayed his disappointment at Chelsea's actions in dealing with the player.
"I'm not really concerned because I know Ashley is a winner," he said. "He has enough experience to deal with the situation.
"I feel you cannot accept that people just come under your window and talk to your wife every night without asking what is happening there."
Wenger also voiced his praise for Brazilian star Gilberto, as the midfielder has recently returned from a serious long-term back injury to prove his value to the side.
Arsenal have missed Gilberto throughout this term as they have had to rely on the inexperienced youth of Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini, and Wenger was adamant in the positive effect the player has on the team.
"First of all he stabilises the team defensively and he gets back to good form slowly, game to game he gets stronger.
"In other departments, in the air he's very strong, tactically very intelligent and it stabilises our defence first of all.
"You can see that with the number of goals we are conceding at the moment."
Whilst Cole's future appears more certain given Wenger's confident declaration, and Gilberto can be assured of a prominent future role, the position of Dennis Bergkamp has been in question with Ajax holding an interest in the Arsenal legend.
The club have yet to open negotiations with Bergkamp regarding a new deal, although Wenger has now revealed that discussions will begin shortly regarding his future.
"We sit down with Dennis in May usually, we are only in April, and we'll put that right at the end of the season."