Arsene Wenger insists he wants Theo Walcott to stay at the Emirates but admits the player must decide his future one way or another before Christmas.
The England international, whose hattrick against Reading took him within one goal of a half century for the Gunners, has made clear he wants assurances of a future as a frontman while repeatedly stressing that he is not stalling because of money.
Maintaining that he thinks a deal can be done before the January transfer window opens, Wenger firmly put the ball in Walcott’s court by also hinting he will use the 23-year-old as a striker.
“There is urgency, how much I don’t know, but there is urgency,” Wenger told press ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Old Trafford.
“We want to sort it out before Christmas, one way or the other. I would not like to [sell him]. I have not even thought about that, because at the moment I think we will still manage to make a deal with him.
“I always said it is important that he plays in the correct position and that certainly would be through the middle in the future.
“The positions on the flanks are changing – you need to do a lot of defending. He should be dedicated more to offensive work.
“I have always come out publicly and said that I see him in the future through the middle as well. He loves to score goals. He has good pace, [makes] excellent, intelligent runs, and what has changed with Theo is he has [become] a very good finisher.”
So Theo, Arsene wants you to be a striker. It’s over to you. You’ve said yourself that you want to ‘be a legend like Thierry Henry’ – time to prove it.
Or has this been about money all along?