Theo Walcott reopens talks as Arsenal secure deals with young British stars

Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson all set to sign new long term contracts

Following on for their morale-boosting 5-2 win at Reading on Monday, Arsenal have had a further lift from Theo Walcott reopening talks about his new contract while five young British players are set to commit their futures to the club in the next few days.

It is understood that Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson are all on the point of signing new contracts with Arsenal that will keep them at the Emirates for at least the next five years.

The news, which could be officially announced before Arsenal take on Wigan on Saturday, will  boost manager Arsène Wenger, who in the last few seasons has seen prized assets such as Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie leave after entering the last year of their deals.

In August it appeared as though Walcott would follow a similar path out of the club when talks about a new £75,000 contract broke down and the striker was warned he could be sold in January. However, negotiations restarted last week and Walcott, who featured in a central striking role at Reading and scored their fifth goal, would appear to be back in favour with his manager.

Arsenal were humiliated last week when they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by League Two Bradford, a defeat. However, the club line, is different. Wenger said after the Reading game that only if he was judged by headlines could Arsenal be said to be in trouble – in that case it was a “super-crisis”. Looking back at 12 points from their last seven Premier League games, Wenger insisted that the their position was rather steadier than some had suggested. “In the championship our run is not so bad recently,” he said. “This run is not fantastic but not disastrous.”

Thomas Vermaelen, the Arsenal captain, made precisely the same point after the game. Arsenal, it should not be forgotten, are only two points behind Tottenham and Chelsea.

“In the league, it is not going that badly,” said Vermaelen, another voice of cool assessment amid the hysteria that often surrounds Arsenal.

“What we did in Bradford was a big disappointment because we want to win those games as well. But in the Premier League, it is all really close for a Champions League spot and we are chasing the top four.”

In recent years Arsenal have allowed bad luck to ruin their confidence and sabotage their seasons. It happened after drawing with Birmingham City in 2008 and after losing to the same side in the Carling Cup final in 2011. Vermaelen is desperate that this  capacity for self-destruction should not come out again. “After Bradford we were focused straight away and we know in England that we have so many games that we can make it up again straight away. You can’t stand still too long with a defeat like that – you just learn from it and move on.”

Vermaelen wants Walcott to stay but has no idea whether he will sign a new contract or not. “Of course we want him to stay but that is something that is going on between the player and the club,” said the Belgian.

“I don’t know what is going on behind the scenes – we don’t talk about it. Of course, Theo has been invaluable for us as well when he played this year. He has been a dangerous player for us and I hope he decides to stay this year.”

According to Vermaelen, it is a private issue and there is not much discussion between Walcott and his team-mates. “Not really because that is going on in football all the time,” he added. “It’s the job of the board and the club what they are going to do with it so we can’t do anything about it.”

Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
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

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect