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


Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape