Wenger admits Walcott departure is possible.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has hinted for the first time that contract-rebel Theo Walcott could leave the Emirates Stadium but says the Gunners will replace him with a ‘big’ player.
Walcott’s contract in North London expires at the end of the season and he is yet to sign a new deal, with reports suggesting he is holding out for over £125,000 a week – a salary Wenger is not prepared to offer.
The England international, 23, has also said that he wants to play as a striker and not on the wing, hinting that this could be key to him agreeing to stay at Arsenal.
The Gunners have seen several key players including Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Gael Clichy leave the club for greener pastures in recent seasons and, speaking ahead of Saturday’s North London derby with Tottenham, Wenger admitted he was upset at losing so many stars.
“You think I’m not fed up? I want them to stay,” Wenger is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror. “He [Walcott] was fantastic last year in this game. He will certainly be again.”
The Frenchman admitted, however, that the former Southampton player could leave Arsenal but says he will be replaced by a ‘big’ name or young prospect.
“Its always important to keep your best players. If that should happen we’ll replace him with someone – another big name. Or make another big name.
“I have discussions every day with Theo Walcott, but not every day about his contract – his agents do that.
“We are trying to get further but, at the moment, nothing else has happened.”
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