ESPN are reporting that Arsenal are close to agreeing new long-term contracts with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. Arsene Wenger is looking to tie down his British core and reassure dismayed Arsenal supporters who are becoming increasingly frustrated as some of our key players enter the final years of their contracts. Wilshere looks set to agree a 4-year deal with a large pay-rise.
A source close to the club said:
“The three youngsters are agreeing long-term contracts and that is very positive.”
However, the fact remains that while these new contracts are all great (especially Wilshere’s!), Arsenal fans are slightly more concerned about the status of Theo Walcott’s contract negotiations as the January transfer window draws ever closer. The BBC are reporting that negotiations over Walcott’s contract will continue now into January, despite Wenger having previously set a Christmas deadline.
In my opinion, Walcott will be more than happy to let his current contract run past Christmas for 2 reasons: 1) He will be free to talk to other clubs in January and get a feeler for what other contract offers are out there and 2) We will know a bit more about where Arsenal stand (both in the league and in terms of January transfers) in a month’s time. Wenger has made it very clear that he does not want to sell Walcott in January, but I am starting to think that he might have reconsider his stance. Bearing in mind how tight-fisted Arsenal are, I am not so sure that the board would pass up the opportunity to grab a few million in January rather than lose Theo on a free in the summer. That is, of course, if they think that we can make the Champions League places without him. It all depends on who Wenger can bring in as a replacement (and more!) in January. We have been heavily linked with Huntelaar, but I will not be happy until any transfer is confirmed on Arsenal.com next month.
In a long interview with Four Four Two magazine, Wenger talked of his regret over letting players like Van Persie, Fabregas, Nasri & Song leave the club just when it looked as though we were putting together a really great squad. Walcott seems to be edging closer to an exit, and Bacary Sagna (who has only has a year and a half left on his deal) may not sign a contract extension either. Losing these two players would be another huge blow that we simply cannot afford.
‘My regret is that we already had a great team two or three years ago which could compete on four fronts.
‘We just missed out in the Champions League [last 16 tie] against Barcelona, when we could have scored in the last minute, and then we just missed out on the Premier League too.
‘But you could feel the potential was there, and I thought, ‘Okay, let’s do this together’. Then the team split up, sometimes after five or six years’ work, it is frustrating, you have to start all over again.’
‘We have lost recent players earlier in their careers – to lose Van Persie, Fabregas, Nasri and Song in just two years, it is a massive amount of potential, of course you worry.’