Arsenal to talk contract with Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott (not pictured) scoring for England

Clearly there hasn't been enough drama surrounding expiring contracts at Arsenal this summer, because now it's time to fully introduce Theo Walcott to the mix. Like Robin van Persie, his contract ends after next year, and like van Persie, some clubs have allegedly started sniffing around to see if Arsenal will offload him.

It would appear that this isn't the plan, at least not yet, as Jamie Sanderson reports that Arsenal plan to move negotiations earlier to "now-ish" rather than waiting until the end of the summer, as was the initial plan. Arsene Wenger plans to talk to him when he returns to training from his post-Euros holiday, before the club leaves for its Asian tour.

Particularly if van Persie is on the way out, Walcott must be retained. Unless he's demanding a truly absurd contract (think Nasri-level insanity), he's important enough to this team that he needs to be here next year, no matter who the central striker is. He cut a bit of a controversial figure last year, even here - he was inconsistent, and when he was "off" he was incredibly frustrating to watch. Somehow, though, he was Arsenal's second most productive offensive player last year in terms of goals and assists, which is pretty good. Also he's 24, and not even to the prime of his career. He still has developing to do, and cold certainly improve on his past two campaigns.

More than that, though, if he leaves that's just another player who has to be replaced, rather than accompanied. It's hard to improve as a team when you bleed players, as we've all been saying for quite a while now. It would be nice to not have to replace the team's most talented player and best winger two years in a row, and instead be able to keep at least one of them, and build around what's already in place. So let's do that thing instead.

Of course, if he won't go under £200,000/week, then there's not a lot that can be done. So it goes.

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