Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Greedy Walcott turns down Arsenal's £25m offer -Gazidis talks transfers with Rowley

Morning Gooners.

Today's blog is devoted almost entirely to Theo Walcott's contact situation at the club.

Walcott's representatives reopened talks with Arsenal on Friday - a week before the transfer window shuts - in a bid to renew his Arsenal deal. It wasn't the first time the two side had been round the table. Earlier in the season Walcott's people walked out on negotiations over a new five year deal, telling Arsenal they wanted to wait until the end of the season to see where the team finished.

You can understand after the start we had last season - and the summer before it when we sold Fabregas and Nasri - that Walcott was quite rightly concerned with the direction of the club was going in.

The club was told that once the season had ended Walcott's people would be prepared to resume talks over extending his deal at the Grove. However it wasn't until Friday when those talks recommenced.

The problem Arsenal now face is that three days before the closure of the transfer window we are in a position where we have a player who can leave the club for free next July, if he doesn't sign a new deal. That leaves the club with that short time to find a buyer for Walcott - if he isn't prepared to sign up.

And the indications aren't good. Walcott's people have told the club he isn't prepared to sign a new five year deal worth £75k a week with a big signing on fee of around £5m. They want closer to £100k a week, putting him on an equal footing to many of his England colleagues.

When Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski are two of the clubs highest earners on £80k a week, putting Theo's wage up to £100k a week will cause Arsenal problems. Those two players along with Thomas Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere, Laurent Koscielny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wojciech Szczesny would then want an uplift in their pay. Perhaps not to £100k a week, but certainly better what they're on now if the £100k a week structure is broken to accommodate Theo's new deal.

The BBC report talks are on-going but I don't see any other outcome other than Walcott leaving Arsenal before 11pm on Friday.

So what might Theo's options be? At the moment it appears there are just two. The newspapers are reporting Liverpool and Manchester City have been keeping tabs on the situation.

If he were to move to Merseyside - and remember Liverpool are the club he supported as a boy - he would probably be given close to the £100k a week he wants. However as a career move it's a step backwards. Liverpool haven't qualified for the Champions League for the past two seasons, where as Arsenal have been a constant in Europe's elite competition for the last 16-years.

At Manchester City he'd certainly be given the weekly wage he wants but would only be considered a squad player. Something he isn't at Arsenal where he starts most games.

Arsene Wenger sent Theo a message on Sunday that he wasn't irreplaceable. His place in the England team isn't guaranteed either with Roy Hodgson preferring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Ashley Young to him at Euro 2012 where Theo only made substitute appearances.

Surely Theo knows at Arsenal he'll be a starter each week, be developed by one of the best coaches in the world and rewarded very well financially for his efforts.

Personally I can't see Theo leaving it this late and signing a new deal. That's why I believe the club should sell him to the highest bidder as soon as possible. It's not like we don't have options on the wings. Lukas Podolski, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andrey Arshavin can all play there. There is talk Serge Gnabry will be fast-tracked into the first team squad should Theo leave. We also have Wellington and Ryo Miyaichi on loan who are both wide players.

There will be life after Theo. We just need to do the deal as soon as possible and move on if he's not prepared to sign a new deal with us. Letting him stay until next summer without putting pen to paper is not an option. If we can get £15m+ for him, I'd be happy.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mail is reporting chief executive Ivan Gazidis has held meetings with chief scout Steve Rowley over our targets. The usual names of Montpellier captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Swansea’s Angel Rangel are linked as the defensive options, with Yann M’Vila (Rennes) and Etienne Capoue (Toulouse) on the midfield list.

The Daily Mirror report Nicklas Bendtner is in talks with AC Milan about a £5m move to Italy.

Finally, Arsenal have announced the sale of midfielder Henri Lansbury to Nottingham Forest. The 21-year-old has seen his opportunities limited to just eight first team appearances. His most memorable appearance came in the league cup where he also scored his only first-team goal for the club in the 4-1 third-round victory at Spurs.

He's a nice guy but there wasn't an opportunity to break into the first team and ultimately for the good of his career he's had to leave the club. Good luck to him in the future. Maybe he'll be back at Arsenal one day.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.


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