Arsenal have tied down five British players to long term contracts, but Theo Walcott is yet to resolve his contract wrangle.
The London club have ensured the future of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Carl Jenkinson, but still there is no sign of Theo Walcott signing on the dotted line.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed the contract renewals of the players mentioned above. The Frenchman has emphasized on building a strong base of British players at the club, which he thinks will be crucial in providing Arsenal with ‘stability’ in the future.
“We are delighted that these five young players have all signed new long-term contracts.
“The plan is to build a team around a strong basis of young players, in order to get them to develop their talent at the club.
“Jack is certainly the best known, the leader of this group – but the other four players are exceptional footballers, and we’re very happy that we could conclude their new deals at the same time.
“I’m a strong believer in stability and I believe when you have a core of British players, it’s always easier to keep them together and that’s what we’ll try to achieve going forward.”
But the Gooners will be concerned about the absence of Theo Walcott from this list. The England international’s future at the club remains in doubt.
Arsene Wenger started Walcott in the role of a striker in their last match against Reading, something which the winger has demanded all season long. But it seems Theo is also unhappy about the wage that the Gunners are offering him.
But former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell believes Arsenal must not lose Theo even if he wants ‘a little bit more money’. Campbell is also worried about how the club is seemingly losing players in their mid-20s.
Campbell was quoted in BBC:
“People love him, people hate him – but Theo is a good player, a great player, and he’s growing every year.
“You can’t lose him because his contract is running out or he wants a little bit more money. You’ve got to keep those type of players. We’ve lost too many over time.
“It used to be losing these players at 30 years old – now they’re losing these players at mid-20s and that’s crazy.
You can’t be losing players at mid-20s because of contract situations – it’s crazy now.”
Theo’s departure will be a big blow for the Gunners, but the fact is Walcott needs Arsenal as much as Arsenal needs him. The Englishman wants to transform into a striker and he is unlikely to get that opportunity elsewhere.