The 26-year-old has just one year left on his contract, and struggled with injury last season. However, the England international has a history of using these situations to his advantage. Last time it came to renew his deal with the Gunners, the former Southampton man allowed things to run until he had just six months left, before signing a new £100,000-a-week contract [The Guardian].
Arguably, the player is less important to the side now though, and it may annoy teammates if he is amongst the highest earners at the club despite not being one of manager Arsene Wenger’s key figures.
With players such as Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all featuring out wide or up front in recent times, Wenger has plenty of options if he can’t come to an agreement with Walcott.
Arsenal have also been linked to Barcelona star Pedro in recent times [Daily Telegraph]. The 27-year-old could be a perfect replacement for Walcott, with his ability to play on either flank, his lightning pace, and his ability to arrive late in dangerous areas.
However, Walcott did show what he could do at the back-end of last season.
After being on the sidelines for much of the campaign with a medial knee ligament injury, the forward came back to score a hat trick in the final Premier League game. This won him a place in the starting XI ahead of Giroud for the FA Cup final, where he also hit the back of the net to help the team lift the trophy.
The outworking of Walcott’s contract situation may well be watched closely at Anfield, where Brendan Rodgers has been linked with a move for the England international as a potential replacement for Raheem Sterling [Express].