Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger backs down over Theo Walcott deal ultimatum

Arsenal manager seeks to smooth over contract row with winger and expects him to stay

Theo Walcott was told by the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, yesterday that the club have backed down from their ultimatum that he must sign a new deal before tomorrow's 11pm transfer window deadline or face the prospect of being sold.

The 23-year-old sought the meeting with Wenger having resolved to resist any attempt to move him on over the next 48 hours unless he was convinced it was in own his interests. Walcott has also not signed the new £75,000-a-week deal on offer which means that the player still holds the cards in this stand-off.

Walcott was incredulous at Arsenal's ultimatum, delivered last Friday, given he has never expressed any desire to leave the club despite strong interest this summer from Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, The Independent understands. Walcott could easily have put pressure on Arsenal to sell – especially in the case of Chelsea – given that he has only one year left on his current contract.

It has always been his intention to sign a new deal, although not necessarily before the end of the current transfer window, and relations had previously been smooth between club and player until the last seven days.

The row broke when Walcott and his representative were told to report last Friday to see Dick Law, Wenger's de facto director of football, at the club's training ground. It was at that meeting that Law explained the player either had to sign the contract on offer or face the prospect of being sold before tomorrow's transfer window deadline.

Walcott's was left out of Wenger's starting XI for the 0-0 Premier League draw against Stoke City on Sunday and was still mulling over Arsenal's aggressive new stance when news broke on Tuesday night of the club's position.

With one year left on his contract, and the prospect of being able to leave on a lucrative Bosman deal next summer, Walcott was in no mood to be pushed around by the club. There is an acceptance on his side that negotiations for a new contract might take some time – Arsenal had offered £75,000-a-week, Walcott wanted £100,000-a-week – but Law's ultimatum only served to make Walcott dig his heels in.

The process began with talks planned in January but both club and player agreed to postpone them until the end of the season while Walcott, who was signed from Southampton for £12.5m as a 16-year-old in 2006, addressed a slump in his form during that period.

The European Championship came and went without an offer from the club and it was not until two weeks ago that both sides met for their first serious discussion.Although there was no agreement, relations were cordial at that stage. Walcott's camp were confident that the new contract would be agreed before October.

There had been no discussion – or threats – from Walcott about moving away from Arsenal despite widespread interest in the player, especially from Chelsea, of which Arsenal were well aware.

Walcott also travelled on Arsenal's Asia tour in July, playing and training every day and taking a full role in the club's commercial commitments while Robin van Persie – who was in an identical contractual situation – made it clear he did not wish to be included. Walcott also agreed to travel despite the fact that others who had been involved in Euro 2012 – Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski, Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud – were excused the trip.

The north London club are now hopeful that they can reach agreement with Walcott on a new deal over the next few weeks and want to leave the events of the last few days behind them. Wenger will be a crucial figure in smoothing over the relationship between the player and the club.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week