Arsene Wenger has confirmed that talks with Theo Walcott over a new Arsenal contract are ongoing and that there are currently no plans to sell him this summer.
The forward is about to enter the final 12 months of his £100,000-a-week deal at the Emirates and all signs seem to indicate that an extension is nowhere near close.
With his position in the squad usurped by the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott has been linked with a surprise exit in the summer transfer window.
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If Arsenal want to get a decent amount of money for him then Wenger will have to sell him this summer or risk losing him for a nominal fee in January. Worse yet, Walcott will be free to leave for nothing if his contract is allowed to expire.
However, Wenger has confirmed that he is under no pressure from the Arsenal board to sell Walcott and is still confident of agreeing a deal that will see him remain in north London.
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"He looks keen to do it and I am keen to do it, so let’s see what comes out"
Wenger told reporters. “We are always in the mode where we want to be successful. In case of failure, we’ll see but in case of failure - that will only be in December.
“Today I’m not in that kind of mode of thinking because I just think I want him to stay. When you go into negotiations with a player it is with a desire for him to stay.
"He looks keen to do it and I am keen to do it, so let’s see what comes out. We are already talking to him, but there are no updates yet.”
This, of course, is not the first time Walcott has had trouble agreeing a new Arsenal contract. His deal was allowed to run into its final six months in 2012 and it looked likely that he would leave.
At that time he was Arsenal's top goalscorer and tipped to play an important part as Wenger rebuilt the squad in a post-Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri era.
But the serious knee injury sustained in January 2013 left him sidelined for a year, during which time Sanchez was signed and Oxlade-Chamberlain came to prominence.
Now even Aaron Ramsey is being preferred in the right side of attack to Walcott, hinting that Wenger no longer sees the England international as a big cog in his Arsenal machine.
Now 26 years old, Walcott is entering a critical part of his career and he will need guarantees over his role in the first-team before committing to a long-term contract.
Santi Cazorla has backed Wenger to spend money in the summer transfer window, declaring that Arsenal must strengthen if they are to steal the title off Chelsea next season.
"We want to improve in the Premier League and the Champions League,” Cazorla told Arsenal fan TV, as per Metro.
“I think if we play how we’ve been playing in the last 10 games then we have a great opportunity.
“I think we’ll sign new players, the team will be very strong and of course we want to win the Premier League and the Champions League.”
Has Theo Walcott still got a part to play in this Arsenal team?
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