Paul Merson has weighed in on the recent debate over whether Arsenal should keep hold of Theo Walcott this summer, and the ex-Gunner turned pundit claims we can’t possibly afford to let go of the speedster, according to the Daily Star.
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The 25-year-old has just over a year left on his current contract, and is reportedly once again stalling on a new contract.
We went through a huge amount to get him to extend back in 2013, and Arsene Wenger is apparently unwilling to go through it again.
Liverpool are apparently interested in signing the England international, and have been linked with a move for him in the past.
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Merson insists that we can’t let him go however, and claims we will regret it if we do.
“Arsenal need to sign him up, because he’s someone who will come back and haunt you badly,” he said.
“Everybody in the country will want to sign Walcott; he will get you 15 to 20 goals a season.
“Arsenal need to sign him very, very quickly. He’s a must, an absolute must.”
Walcott has struggled for first team football since returning from injury, and so far it is unclear whether Wenger is merely easing him back in, or if there is something more going on.
The former Southampton star has firmly denied that there is a rift between he and the manager, and Merson thinks the pair are far too nice to be at each other’s throats.
“I’ve met Theo before and he’s a nice lad,” he continued.
“I’ve met Arsene and he’s a nice man, so I don’t see the two of them arguing, I just don’t see that.
“I think talk of an argument between the two of them is a load of rubbish.”
It’s difficult to believe that there is nothing going on, as Walcott seems fully fit and more than capable of playing a bigger part than he has done so far this campaign.
Wenger may be reluctant to play him as he has already decided to let him leave this summer, or he may be punishing him for stalling on his new contract.
Regardless, it’s something that needs to be resolved quickly, as we need to be fully focused as we head into the tail end of the season.