Arsenal confident they can persuade Walcott to extend his stay
Arsenal believe they have made a breakthrough in the Theo Walcott contract negotiations and are bullish about the prospect of securing the forward on a new long-term deal.
The 23-year-old’s contract expires in the summer and the long-running stand-off between his representative and the club has made for a saga.
Walcott has always favoured staying on at the club he joined from Southampton in 2006 but he is determined to do so on terms that reflect his worth to the team and the business.
In recent months he has come to assume the upper hand in the power-play, as he has regained a regular starting place and his form has improved.
The club have made almost weekly attempts to reopen formal negotiations with his representative, having last sat down with him in late September, only for him to resist.
The player has already seemingly wrung one concession from the manager, Arsene Wenger, in that he has started the past four Premier League matches as the team’s central striker, the role which he has long sought.
And now there has finally been an indication from the club that they are prepared to raise their offer to Walcott.
At the end of August they offered a little under £80,000 (€98,000) a week and they briefly suggested that, if Walcott did not agree, they would look to sell him before the closure of the summer transfer window.
He was seeking £90,000 (€110,000) a week back then but, as he has scored 14 goals in all competitions, which represents his best return for a season, his negotiating position has been strengthened.
He has pushed for £100,000 (€123,000) a week, which would put him at the very top of the club’s wage structure. Arsenal have the money, just as they have the ability to support Wenger in whatever transfer targets he wishes to pursue this month; he has said he is actively checking out possibilities.
There has, though, been a reluctance on his part to break the wage structure.
One option regarding Walcott would be to give him a re-signing fee, which would allow the club to pay him a lower wage.
Formal talks between Arsenal and the Walcott camp had been pencilled in for this month but, although the signs are increasingly positive and the end result should see resolution between the parties, it is unlikely there will be any immediate conclusion.