Arsenal have failed to reach an agreement with England winger Theo Walcott over a contract extension, but talks are ongoing. The 23-year-old, whose contract expires in 2013, wants to stay and is willing to continue negotiations. Walcott, 23, and his representatives had been preparing to continue negotiations beyond Friday’s 11pm transfer deadline on a new deal for the player, having rejected the club’s first two offers. However, despite interest from Manchester City and Liverpool they feel under no pressure to agree to a move away from the club by Friday with so many factors in their favour.
It is understood Walcott has been offered an improved five-year deal worth £75,000-a-week. City have already made it clear they are chasing another winger, after selling Adam Johnson to Sunderland. He has scored 42 goals in 222 appearances and won 28 England caps during his time at the club. Walcott contributed 12 assists in the Premier League last season, many of which were for Robin van Persie. Van Persie moved to Manchester United for £24m on 17 August, three days before Alex Song joined Barcelona. The feeling from Arsenal’s side is that they cannot allow the player to leave for a relatively small compensation next July when his contract expires and he would be entitled to a lucrative Bosman free transfer. That has been the long-held fear at the club and yesterday’s threats to sell him for £11m appears to be a last-ditch move to apply pressure to the player to sign. Arsenal waited until after the campaign began to open dialogue with Walcott’s representatives. They feel they have enough cover in wide positions if he is sold, with Lukas Podolski, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andrey Arshavin and 17-year-old Serge Gnabry all available to manager Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal would like to keep the player but at the moment the two sides are far apart in their valuation of Walcott’s worth to the club, with the player seeking a £100,000-a-week deal. Arsenal regard that level as too much relative to what he has achieved so far at the club.