Cash-strapped Chelsea could soon lose France defender Willem Gallas.

Dubbed “the new (Marcel) Desailly by boss Claudio Ranieri, the 24-year-old has become disillusioned at being played out of position. Last season he formed a formidable partnership with John Terry at the heart of the Blues defence, but was forced to revert to left-back when skipper Desailly returned from injury.

Leeds United, linked with most top defenders after the sale of Rio Ferdinand, a are thought to be interested in the player. Someof the cash from the Ferdinand deal has been set aside for manager Terry Venables to start rebuilding.

Having cleared some of their immediate debts, Leeds will be hoping to use Chelsea’s fragile financial position to tempt them into parting with Gallas.

The Frechman’s agent, Willie McKay, said, “Willem Gallas has been offered a new contract but is waiting to what is happening ….. I have been contacted bythree major Premiership clubs who are all very keen on signing him.”

A œ7.5 million buy-out clause in Gallas’ contract could speed through any potential deal.

Arsenal are thought to be one of the other two clubs monitoring the situation closely. Wenger is a big fan of Gallas, and his fellow Frenchman David Sommeil, to whom Chelsea could turn to should Gallas decide to leave.