BREAKING NEWS: Theo Walcott ready to quit Arsenal
According to British newspaper The Times, Arsenal forward Theo Walcott is willing to leave Arsenal because of manager Arsene Wenger’s unwillingness to start him in the Premier League.
The paper goes on to report that Walcott was unhappy at being left out of the starting XI for his side’s match against Manchester United, despite scoring a hat trick in Arsenal’s Capital One Cup tie midweek at Reading’s Madejski Stadium. Wenger, however, might have had his reasons to rest the England international since he had played more than two hours of competitive football against Reading.
Walcott is yet to start a Premier League game this season with the exception of the opening day fixture against Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium, where he started alongside new signings Lukas Podolski and Santiago Cazorla. He has since been relegated to the bench, from where he has had an impact.
The 23-year-old has reiterated his desire to play through the middle time and time again, and has stated his desire to emulate childhood idol Thierry Henry. Like Henry before him, Walcott also wears the number 14 jersey.
His contract expires next summer, and FIFA regulations state he will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with non-English clubs as early as this December. The two clubs who seem most interested in adding the Southampton Youth Product to their ranks are Liverpool, who are said to have readied a £8 million bid for him, and fellow Londoners Chelsea, who are proposing a player swap with striker Daniel Sturridge.
Although Walcott has spent nearly all of his Arsenal career on the wings, he has expressed his wish to play as a centre forward, and this seems to be the main bone of contention over the stalling of contract talks. Wenger has publicly declared his willingness to play him up front, where he will face competition from the likes of Olivier Giroud and Marouane Chamakh.
Crunch talks between the Club and Walcott’s representatives are set to take place mid-November, and should the young forward not wish to accept the contract, Arsenal will have no choice but to move him on.
Several names have already been linked to the North London Club, such as Spanish trio Angel Lopez of Atletico Madrid, Jesus Navas of Sevilla and Fernando Llorente of Athletic Bilbao. German internationals Lewis Holtby of Schalke 04 and Andre Schurrle of Bayer 04 Leverkusen are also rumoured to have been monitored by the Ashburton Grove side.