The Daily Mail has what it is billing as an exclusive today. According to the paper…
1 In spite of the public perception that talks between Theo Walcott and the club are ongoing, no formal discussions between the two parties have taken place since August 28. The last offer on the table was a five-year £75,000-per-week deal.
2 That Wenger is desperate to cling on to his in-form winger for the rest of the season knowing that Walcott could leave on a free transfer in the summer. However Wenger also wanted to keep Van Persie and Nasri but he was over ruled by the board and both were sold with less than 12 months on their contracts. So if the board gets its way Walcott will be sold in January with Chelsea Liverpool and Manchester City the front runners.
All this in spite of strong rumours that Walcott wants to stay at the club.
He might have been dogged by injuries, but Walcott has been very impressive this season and is clearly forming a useful partnership with new striker Olivier Giroud. His crosses from the right have been a source of seven Arsenal goals and he also netted ten himself.
What the fans can’t understand is why the club won’t make an improved offer to arguably the club’s most in-form player. The financial gap between the two parties is apparently only a few thousand a week. The other sticking point is that Walcott is adamant that he wants to play as a striker.
Given the club’s shortage of front men many fans feel Wenger has missed a trick this season not to experiment with Walcott through the middle. What is even more galling for Arsenal faithful is that Wenger was prepared to give Gervinho a striking berth which, apart from brief flashes of genius, has been wholly unsuccessful.
It appears that Walcott has the respect and support of a large section of Arsenal fans and were he to leave, unlike Nasri, Van Persie, Toure and other Arsenal emigres, the fans would blame the club and the manager and not the player.
Of course the side could pull a huge rabbit out of the hat by signing the highly rated Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace. Whether that would be enough for the fans to forget their speedy winger remains to be seen.