Burley in dark over Walcott move to Arsenal

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The Independent Football

The whole footballing world expects Southampton's exciting teenager, Theo Walcott, to join Arsenal today except his manager George Burley, who claims that if a deal has been done he knows nothing about it.

"I don't know what will happen tomorrow," Burley said after his side lost 1-0 to Queen's Park Rangers on Saturday at Loftus Road. "I might not be here myself, who knows? I won't guarantee anything, but as far as I'm aware nothing has changed. We're planning ahead with Theo at the club. He's done very well for us and we want to keep him for as long as possible. He's a fantastic talent. When you've got a talent like that there is always going to be speculation but the kid handles it well - he's experienced it for the past six months."

Burley did admit he could not guarantee that Walcott would remain a Southampton player beyond the January transfer window as reports suggested the 16-year-old remained in London for further talks with Arsenal after Saturday's game. Saints are believed to be hopeful of retaining Walcott's services on loan should he head to Highbury, a move that appeared to be edging ever closer when the chairman Rupert Lowe and the director of football Sir Clive Woodward visited the Arsenal training ground on Thursday. However, it is understood the Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is eager to start working with Walcott straight away.

Walcott was unable to finish on the winning side in what could be his last Southampton game on Saturday after a Richard Langley penalty proved enough to beat Saints.

"[Walcott] looked lively," Burley said. "He did well on a number of occasions and made a great run for the penalty." Unfortunately for Burley, the penalty earned by Walcott's surging run 14 minutes from time was squandered by Nigel Quashie, who smacked the ball on to the post against his former club.

Burley admitted that he is close to bringing in players to boost his squad, who are now well off the play-off places after a fifth defeat in six League games under the Scot. "We've made offers for three or four players and we are close to bringing in one or two in the next few days."

The Rangers manager Ian Holloway admitted to being an admirer of Walcott. "He showed his quality in flashes and you could see why everyone is talking about him," he said.

The former Arsenal striker Nicolas Anelka wants to make Newcastle United his next club. He said: "I don't want to waste my time any more in the Turkish Championship ... [but] they don't want to sell me for nothing. But my brothers are trying to find me a club in England. I have heard of Everton's interest, but I don't want to go there. I want to get back into the Premiership and I would like that club to be Newcastle United."

l The former Arsenal captain Tony Adams will start work at the Dutch first division side Utrecht today as a trainee coach.

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