Arsene Wenger admits he was 'scared' Theo Walcott wouldn't agree new Arsenal deal

Gunners manager almost certain new contract will be signed

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he was “scared” Theo Walcott would leave Arsenal at the end of his contract, but is now “99 per cent certain” a new deal can finally be signed this week.

The England forward would have been a free agent at the end of the season, and the club have been in negotiations to close out terms on a lucrative extension which would make Walcott among the highest-paid players at the club with a three-and-half-year contract worth close to £100,000-a-week, boosted by lucrative add-ons.

Wenger will be relieved when the ink is dry on the deal, having helped develop Walcott from a raw talent when bringing him from Southampton seven years ago.

"I was scared at some stage, yes, that he could leave because it is like that with the experience I have in negotiations," Wenger said at this morning's press conference ahead of the Barclays Premier League game at Chelsea on Sunday.

"When things last too long, it is never a good sign.

"In that case, it took us some time to get where we want to get.

"It is still not finalised, but hopefully it will be done by this weekend.

"There is a possibility. My optimism is at 99 per cent now."

Arsenal beat Swansea 1-0 last night with a fine late goal from Jack Wilshere to book a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Wenger is determined to get his side firing again in the Premier League following last weekend's disappointing 2-0 home defeat by Manchester City.

The Gunners are in the market to strengthen during the January transfer window, but only if they can find the right quality of player Wenger believes will add something to the squad.

Wenger confirmed there was interest in Crystal Palace's promising England international Wilfried Zaha.

However, the Arsenal manager insisted no formal offer had yet been lodged for the 20-year-old, who is also being watched by Manchester United.

"We are looking at him, but at the moment we have not made any bid for him," Wenger said.

"I don't know if Manchester United are in for him.

"Anyway, if you call any club for any player, they will tell you Man Utd, Milan, Real Madrid are as well in for him, but it is always difficult to know if it is true or not."

Arsenal have plenty of cash reserves, bolstered by the £24million summer sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United.

Wenger maintains the Gunners are ready to spend big should they find the right man - and have been heavily linked with Napoli's Uruguay hitman Edinson Cavani.

"I like him as a player," said Wenger.

"Will he cost a lot of money? That's for sure. Nobody would deny that.

"Our banker lives just next to me at the moment and he is ready if we find the right player."

Should needs be, Wenger is happy to play a waiting game as the transfer clock ticks on.

"The prices go always up at the start of the transfer market and go down in the last week. Sometimes as well they go up in the last week, but it depends," he said.

"Most of the time they go down in the last week and you know as well that 90% of transfer activity happens in the last week if not in the last 48 hours."

PA

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
News
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
science
Extras
indybest
News
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
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

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
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home