Arsène Wenger insisted yesterday that he is still confident of tying Theo Walcott to a new contract at Arsenal, but also insisted that the club wage structure would not bend for him.
“Theo is 23,” said Wenger. “He’s English, he lives 10 minutes from here. So hopefully we can find an agreement at some stage.”
Arsenal are never keen to over-pay players and Wenger made clear that this was the root of the issue.
“It was never a hard-line approach, always a soft-line approach, but with respect of our wage structure,” he said. “Every decision we have a general line of conduct that is our wage structure that we want to respect. If we don’t do that we will go nowhere. It is of course different for a 29-year-old than a 23-year-old.”
While talks continue this season, Walcott will stay at Arsenal, and Wenger has few worries about his focus.
“I don’t know what will happen in January,” the manager said. “I’m more worried about Sunday [when Arsenal face Liverpool at Anfield]. And Theo is focused in every training [session] to do well. And what happens at the end of the season happens at the end of the season.”