Theo Walcott has put contract talks with Arsenal on hold until the end of the season but will request a wage rise when negotiations resume in the summer.
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The Evening Standard reports that both parties are happy to let the forward’s contract situation lie until the post-season when it can be fully assessed which could be a risk considering Walcott will then have just one year left on his current deal.
The article continues that both Liverpool and Manchester City could make a move for the England man if it becomes an apparent that a deal cannot be struck.
However, in that dutifully PR way – because the paper wouldn’t get the exclusive if they didn’t write it – the reports say says Walcott “remains fully committed to the club”.
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How the tables have turned for Theo, the last time it was time to discuss a new contract Arsenal had come off perhaps their worst summer in living memory; losing the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri to major rivals and were restricted in their ability to drive a hard bargain as to lose another star player again who at that point was the crux of the side would send the wrong message to both fans and competitors.
But this time around, there’s no overriding pressure on the Arsenal side to bend the knee to the 25-year-old and succumb to his frankly quite extortionate demands when you consider the service he provides to the team.
Alexis, Welbeck, Oxlade-Chamberlain, they can all perform the same role as Theo provide the defensive cover Theo seems so apathetic toward or that he’s simply unable do it and whilst they might not be as potent in front of goal when presented with a chance they more than make up for it with their contribution to build-up play and their tactical flexibility.
If Walcott refuses to relent there will likely only be one outcome as the bare face of it is that our forward line has moved on, it’s at it’s next stage in the evolutionary cycle.
Theo can demand an improved pay packet all he wants but if this “break” in contract in negotiations is good for anything, it might be to make it clear to Theo that he no longer has the hand he thinks he does and if he wants to continue with Arsenal he will have to be more realistic.