According to a (paywall-restricted) article on the website of the London Times, contract negotiations between Arsenal and Theo Walcott are not going very well. Oliver Kay of that paper tweeted the below a little while ago:
RT— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) August 28, 2012
@timessport: Theo Walcott could leave Arsenal this week after rejecting contract extension thetim.es/Rk9QVK (£)
His colleague Rory Smith added the following:
Included in the Walcott story:— Rory Smith (@RorySmithTimes) August 28, 2012
#LFC monitoring, but #MCFC infinitely more likely, for obvious reasons. City bid for Javi Garcia rejected.
Let's try to make sense of all of this after the jump.
Here's what we know for sure: Theo Walcott has not signed a contract extension. Also, also...well, that's about all we know for sure, actually. There are hints that Manchester City were in the hunt for Swansea's attacker Scott Sinclair, and that that may have fallen through, which does make this an interesting time for them:
Interesting timing that Theo's camp leak contract refusal just as City's bid for Scott Sinclair falters.— gilbertosilver (@gunnerblog) August 28, 2012
Nothing has actually happened yet, and there is little reason to doubt that Arsene Wenger will have plans in place to deal with any possible departures. Still, were this to happen, it wouldn't be ideal. The question is, though, whether any other teams actually want Walcott, a player whose qualities are often underappreciated and whose faults are well-known, if exaggerated. It is true that he offered a lot in terms of assists to Robin van Persie last year, but that's no longer a potential tactic, and we know that Walcott struggles against teams that sit deep in two banks of four (a tactic that's more or less de rigueur these days against the Gunners). So in the end, tactically, Arsenal could lose a very good player against teams who play a high line, but not a player that will destroy their ambition were he to leave.
That being said, this is getting a little old. When real life starts to approximate how I play Football Manager, things are weird. Wenger's probably going to grow a nice iceberg around where his heart used to be if this continues.
We will keep you posted if anything else happens.
UPDATE: Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph has offered up the following, which at least tells us where Arsenal stand on the whole money issue:
Arsenal offer to Walcott is £75,000-a-week. No sense that they will improve it. Ending feels inevitable— Jeremy Wilson (@JWTelegraph) August 28, 2012