EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal rift over Walcott as Wenger blocks January sale of contract rebel
22:42 GMT, 7 December 2012
Arsene Wenger will plead with Arsenal
not to sell Theo Walcott in January as it emerged discussions over a
new contract have come to a halt.
Publicly, the Frenchman insists talks with Walcott and his advisers over fresh terms are ongoing.
Eyes on the future: Arsene Wenger is frustrated by the on-going negotiations with his star man
But Sportsmail understands no formal discussions between the two parties have taken place since August 28, when Walcott turned down a five-year 75,000-per-week deal.
And with just three weeks to go until the transfer window reopens, there are currently no plans in place for further discussions.
Therefore, it is looking increasingly likely that Walcott will go into January with just six months left on his contract.
The 23-year-old could sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club from January 1 or join a Premier League side on a free transfer at the end of the season.
The Gunners will look to sell Walcott, whose preference is to stay at the club, in January if a deal is not agreed to avoid him leaving for nothing. But Wenger would prefer Walcott to stay until at least the summer and will make his point to the Arsenal hierarchy.
However, club chiefs are highly likely to press ahead with plans to recoup as much money as possible for Walcott next month.
Wenger made similar overtures to the Gunners board during the Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie sagas — yet both were sold as they entered the final 12 months of their contracts.
Speaking yesterday, Wenger said: ‘I am frustrated, honestly. If you ask me will we sell Theo in January, no. I have always been hopeful he will sign.’
Liverpool want to sign Walcott in January, while Manchester City and Chelsea will offer the former Southampton forward lucrative free transfers in the summer.
Should I stay or go now: Theo Walcott is at loggerheads with Arsenal over his new deal