Arsene Wenger has revealed the latest situation with Theo Walcott’s contract negotiations, claiming they are on a ‘good road’ however caution must be taken as anything can happen.
The England international’s current terms end this summer and he naturally has been heavily linked with a move away from the Emirates with Arsenal’s knack of not giving into wage demands and selling star players.
But the Gunners have taken a different route with Walcott, who has consistently stated his wish to remain with Arsenal, it seems it may just be a matter of time before a deal is eventually struck, however Wenger has a certain amount of doubt until a contract is signed.
Wenger told Arsenal’s official website:
Discussions progress smoothly but slowly. We are on a good road but in this situation, as long as nothing is signed, you are cautious.
But I am optimistic we will get to a happy conclusion. I was optimistic last week, but I am a bit more optimistic this week.
Wenger also confirmed that the future of the 23-year-old will be sorted this month, and that his rumoured desire for a consistent striking role has nothing to do with negotiations. The Frenchman continued:
No, it is not linked with that. I believe that Theo can have a preference maybe to play through the middle but first of all he never made a condition of that to extend his contract, because certainly I would not accept it.
Secondly he was always happier when he plays, whether it is on the flank or through the middle. That has no influence at all.
No [I didn't make assurances], and he didn’t make a condition of it as well. But I see him playing more up front, yes.
Walcott has made a positive transition to a centre forward role this season, with a number of positive performances most notably the hattrick against Newcastle. He is essential to Arsenal’s attacking lineup, whether he is playing through the middle or on the flanks, so it is important to secure his long term future as soon as possible.
A host of English players including Wilshere, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamerlain and Gibbs recently committed their futures to the club by signing new contracts, and these deals only took a month to negotiate, whereas Walcott’s has stretched on for months and months, so you can see why Wenger still remains cautious.
Reports in the media have taken a positive swing over the past week or so which only further enforces Wenger’s optimism. Hopefully a deal is sorted over the next week or so, he is starting to prove he is worth the reported £90,000 a week wages.