Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has warned Theo Walcott against any funny business when it comes to forthcoming negotiations over a new deal at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners 'Invincible' claims the 25-year-old has no right to prolong contract talks given his current standing in the first-team after Arsene Wenger hinted earlier this week that the club faced another potential fiasco whilst trying to get the fleet-footed forward to commit his long-term future.
Walcott's current £90,000-a-week deal has just over 12 months to run, and Arsenal chiefs have already approached the England international over a renewal.
However, early indications suggest that an agreement will be far from straightforward, particularly after Wenger intimated that progress had been slow so far.
Keown is surprised by Walcott's perceived stance, especially when you consider the fact he's struggling to cement his place in the starting XI since returning from a long injury lay-off in early 2015.
“He hasn’t really cemented himself [in the team] yet, and I think it’s ten years he’s been at the football club," explained the 48-year-old in an interview with talkSPORT's Weekend Sports Breakfast show. "You couldn’t really call him first choice."
And, on Wenger's decision to make the contractual situation public in his pre-West Ham United press conference, the retired centre-back thinks the frugal Frenchman has got his tactics spot on.
“He’s laying down the message to the player – ‘don’t take liberties, we’ll pay you a fair amount but we won’t go over the top’”.
Walcott was actually named in Wenger's starting XI for Saturday's 3-0 victory over the Hammers before being withdrawn in the 72nd minute to be replaced by Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla.
More regular action might help convince the former Southampton man to renew terms with the Gunners, but it will take more than a rare outing against Sam Allardyce's side to finalise negotiations.
Arsenal fans: Do you want Theo Walcott to sign a new deal at the Emirates Stadium? Is he 'taking liberties' stalling on committing his future to Arsene Wenger's side? Share your thoughts below...
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