Arsenal legend Martin Keown has warned contract rebel Theo Walcott not to ‘take liberties’ during negotiations after Arsene Wenger admitted that progress has remained regarding a contract extension for the forward.
Walcott’s current deal expires in the summer of 2016 and when a player enters the final 12 months of their deal, then the situation quickly becomes delicate and a contract saga seems inevitable.
Ironically, this seems like de ja vu with Walcott’s last contract negotiations being a long drawn out process where both Arsene Wenger and the England man traded subliminal shots in the media.
In the end, an agreement was reached but quite oddly, the length of the deal was only three-and-a-half years which has led to the present situation.
“He hasn’t really cemented himself [in the team] yet, and I think it’s ten years he’s been at the football club. You couldn’t really call him first choice,” Keown told talkSPORT.
“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’”.
Given that Walcott has been relegated to the bench in recent weeks, Wenger may be sending a message regarding the forward’s status among the current squad.
The additions of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck have increased competition in Arsenal’s forward line with young forwards Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Serge Gnabry ready to claim a place in the team.