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Around The Uk

Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Bergkamp future still uncertain
Dennis Bergkamp
Bergkamp is waiting on Arsenal's new offer
The future of Dennis Bergkamp at Arsenal is set to depend on the quality of contract the club can offer him as the striker revealed that he believes he can carry on for at least two seasons after the present campaign.

Bergkamp's present deal runs out at the end of this season when he would be able to leave on a free transfer under the Bosman ruling.

It does seem that Arsenal want to keep me and, yes, I really want to stay, but it depends on the offer.
  Dennis Bergkamp

If a deal is not struck soon then the Dutchman will be legally entitled to negotiate with overseas clubs under current regulations and Ajax, his former club in Holland, are likely to be interested in recruiting Bergkamp.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has stated, however, that he would like Bergkamp to stay on at Highbury.

Key player

"I would love Dennis to extend his contract here," said Wenger. "He has always been a key player for us and we are talking to his agent."

Bergkamp has retired from international football which he believes should help his cause to extend his Highbury stay but, he usually misses Arsenal's Champions League fixtures away from home due to his fear of flying.

In addition Wenger has shown in the past that he is reluctant to keep ageing players on long-term deals with Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Steve Bould being offered one year deals at the club in recent cases.

A further year's option was reportedly included in those three deals but only Dixon remains at Highbury.

Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

"I don't really think Arsenal would offer me something like that but I will have to wait and see," said Bergkamp.

"We haven't talked about it yet but we have agreed to do so. There's no time scale at all right now and I can understand that because it is a busy time for the club. They are probably waiting for a quieter moment."

He added: "It does seem that Arsenal want to keep me and, yes, I really want to stay, but it depends on the offer.

"I haven't really thought about how many years. I think I can play for a few more yet, especially as I've left international football and all my concentration is here now. I'm looking at this season and maybe another two."

Bergkamp's first team opportunities may also come into consideration. He has been mainly limited to the bench this season with only two starts to his credit.

"It is very frustrating sitting on the bench when you see all the chances being created," said Bergkamp.

"If you look at my career you can see I am not really a substitute. Like every player I want to start all the games, although I realise I must be patient because competition for places at Arsenal is now very strong."

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