Wenger says star is staying put…for now.
Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal will not sell Theo Walcott in January.
That means the club could face losing Walcott, 23, for nothing in the summer as the England international’s contract expires at the end of the season.
Walcott would be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club in January if a new deal is not agreed.
Talks over a new contract have stalled and asked if the winger would be sold if negotiations continued into 2013, the Arsenal manager replied: “No.”
Walcott rejected a five-year deal worth £75,000 a week in August, and has indicated his future may rest on whether he plays in a striking role.
Arsene Wenger appears to be taking a big risk with Theo Walcott.
The Frenchman has again insisted that the England international will not be sold in January but, unless Wenger knows something we don’t, he is gambling on the youngster signing a new deal. If not, the Gunners face the unhappy prospect of losing the 23-year-old for nothing next summer.
With Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea having all been credited with an interest in the former Southampton star, it looks almost certain that Walcott would join one of Arsenal’s biggest rivals if he did depart.
Key to Walcott’s contract dispute is the youngster’s desire to play up-front, rather than on the wing. It is not a disagreement that is likely to be solved any time soon, particularly with Olivier Giroud finally starting the show the kind of form that persuaded Wenger to part with £12m and Lukas Podolski also demanding a more central role.
It is also hard to see Walcott being played as a striker at any of the big clubs in the country, with the possible exception of Chelsea, form whom Fernando Torres continues to misfire.
Arsenal have showed a great amount of faith in Walcott and it would feel like yet another gross betrayal if the speedy star became the latest big player to leave North London in search of pastures new.
Tickets still available for top football matches – Newcastle United v Man City tickets