Arsenal are reportedly resigned to losing Theo Walcott and will attempt to sign Newcastle United playmaker Hatem ben Arfa as a replacement.

According to a report from Italian football publication, Walcott is almost certainly leaving Emirates Stadium in the summer after failing to agree a new deal.

The England winger has been linked with Serie A champions Juventus recently, as well as Arsenal’s Premier League rivals Liverpool and Chelsea.

This report suggests Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has begun to consider contingency plans for losing Walcott on a free transfer in the summer and has identified Ben Arfa as a suitable replacement.

The talented Frenchman was inconsistent in his early days at St James’ Park, but has now become one of Alan Pardew’s more impressive players – his deadly set-pieces have picked him up a number of assists, while he also has a penchant for scoring spectacular goals.

The annoyance of Walcott departing will be tempered slightly by the emergence of a new young star at Arsenal – 17-year-old German winger Serge Gnabry has shown flashes of brilliance in recent cameos and has been tipped for great things by Wenger.

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