Arsène Wenger admits concern over Theo Walcott's contract situation


Arsène Wenger admits there is a growing urgency to Theo Walcott's contract negotiations ahead of next Friday's 11pm transfer deadline.

Representatives of club and player are engaged in talks to try to reach an agreement that would let the England winger, 23, extend his stay at the club before he enters the final season of his current deal.

A failure to strike a deal could result in Walcott – who is believed to be seeking a salary of around £100,000 per week – playing out the current campaign before leaving as a free agent at the end of the season. Alternatively, Arsenal could move to realise the remaining value in the player but, having seen Alex Song and, more painfully, Robin van Persie leave already this season, Wenger is keen to avoid another of his leading players exiting.

"Negotiations continue, at the moment not directly with me, and we will try to sort it out one way or the other," Wenger said. "We want to extend his contract, and to keep him at the club – but you need not only our desire. His desire is also right, he wants to stay and we need to find an agreement."

Walcott has attracted interest, particularly from Liverpool, but Wenger is keen for the player to extend his six-year stay at the Emirates Stadium. "I hope he will stay and that's it," added the Frenchman. "There is big competition going on everywhere. We have so many in midfield and on the flanks but Theo is very important for me."

Wenger is not expecting a frantic final week of the transfer window to rival last August when he was forced to act quickly to plug gaps left by the departure of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas. The manager has an interest in Jesus Navas, the Seville winger, that could develop if the Walcott talks reach an impasse, but a move for Nuri Sahin, the Real Madrid midfielder now expected to join Liverpool, "is not alive" according to the manager, whose priority is a defensive midfielder.

"If someone top, top-class turns up, completely defensive, we will consider it," he said.

Wenger says he ended his interest in Sahin because he feels the Turkey international is too similar to Jack Wilshere, the England midfielder, who the manager now hopes could be close to a return around October.

"October will be an important month for him," Wenger said. "His form will decide. But he works very hard. Every day he's in early, late going home and he's focused and has built up a good basis for his body. After how quick he will be sharp again for competition, I don't know. We will have to wait for at least for a month to see."

Wenger did concede the one signing he would have liked to have made was Van Persie, who rejected the offer of a new deal. He also admits to a certain frustration at seeing Eden Hazard settle in so quickly at Chelsea, having tried to sign the Belgium international two years ago.

"There was such competition for him from Manchester City, Chelsea, and they fly a bit higher in the sky," he said. "Two years ago, we were in touch with Lille but they never wanted to sell him. He is a guy who has something special, as you have seen already."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
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

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride