Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the club want to extend Theo Walcott’s contract and says that negotiations between the club and Walcott’s people are ongoing.
The England international is into the final year of his contract and if he fails to agree a new deal with Arsenal could leave on a free next summer. It had been thought that because of his age Arsenal had some security as the club would have to be compensated for his development, but this Guardian article reveals that because his 24th birthday is in March no such compensation would apply.
Quizzed today at his press conference for the latest on the situation and if the club might be forced into a quick sale to avoid the financial hit, the boss said, “Negotiations continue, at the moment not directly with me, but we try to sort it out before the window closes, one way or the other.
“We want to extend his contract, but you need not only our desire. I think his desire is right, and we need to find an agreement. I could spend all my press conferences talking about the word ‘if’, but let’s live in the real world, both parties are at the table.”
Meanwhile, Wenger has backed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to continue his development this season. He’s made real progress and featured for England (ahead of Walcott) at the European Championships this summer, and the manager believes that experience will have been of huge benefit to him.
“Last year he was a young boy still discovering the Premier League. This year he’s still a young boy but has matured a lot. I think because of the Euros, he has improved football wise.
“Confidence wise the Euros were positive, to have the experience with the players from other big clubs, how you prepare for the big games, how you cope with pressure. It’s normal you move forward quickly at that age.
“I expect to contribute much more this season. He’s on the way up.”