Arsenal - Arsene '99% Sure' On Theo
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Arsene '99% Sure' On Theo

Rumours has been drifting around the interwebs for a few weeks that Theo Walcott is set to sign a new improved deal with the club, likely to make him Arsenal's highest paid player. Arsene Wenger has been making more positive noises too and in today's press conference, he seemed to confirm that the situation was near resolution.

Theo is legally free to negotiate with clubs on the continent and will be available on a Bosman free transfer come June, but Wenger said the club were nearly there, 'I was scared at some stage, yes, that he could leave because it is like that with the experience I have in negotiations,' Wenger said at Thursday morning's press conference ahead of the game at Chelsea on Sunday.

'When things last too long, it is never a good sign.

'In that case, it took us some time to get where we want to get.

'It is still not finalised, but hopefully it will be done by this weekend.

'There is a possibility. My optimism is at 99 per cent now.'

Meanwhile, Wenger hinted that he had some irons in the fire on the transfer front too, 'We are looking at him [Wilfried Zaha], but at the moment we have not made any bid for him,' Wenger said.

'I don't know if Manchester United are in for him.

'Anyway, if you call any club for any player, they will tell you Man Utd, Milan, Real Madrid are as well in for him, but it is always difficult to know if it is true or not.'

He also suggested a big bid for Napoli's Edison Cavani was under consideration, ''I like him as a player,' said Wenger. 'Will he cost a lot of money? That's for sure. Nobody would deny that.

'Our banker lives just next to me at the moment and he is ready if we find the right player.'

Though Wenger is happy to play a waiting game as January draws on.

'The prices go always up at the start of the transfer market and go down in the last week. Sometimes as well they go up in the last week, but it depends,' he said.

'Most of the time they go down in the last week and you know as well that 90% of transfer activity happens in the last week if not in the last 48 hours.'

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday January 17 2013

Time: 3:10PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Intriguing that the club and Walcott still haven't reached an agreement after a revised offer closer to the numbers Theo wanted. Does Theo want even more money or is he waiting for an assurance that the club wont buy another centre forward which will limit his opportunities through the middle one wonders. The club too seems oddly relaxed about the situation. About the confirmed 'interest' in the amazing Edinson Cavani, its wishful thinking or at best a smokescreen for interest in another forward. With a buyout close to 50 million quid, a reported 30 million bid comes nowhere close to interesting Napoli and its not as if Cavani is a massive fan and only wants to come to the Arsenal. Last summer Wenger confirmed his interest in Hazard but bought Cazorla who cost half as much as Hazard both in terms of transfer fee as well as wages. Hopefully this is a smoke screen for something similar. One can hope!
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17/01/2013 15:36:00

I just hope people will lay off Theo a bit. Everyone was up in arms that we could posiibly lose another of our players to either City, Chelsea or Man Utd. "It'll just go to show we're a small club now" they said. Yet when Theo has a poor run of form everyone is all over him talking about wages and playing upfront. We either want to keep him or we don't, make up your minds. He's the age now that Henry was when he joined I believe, he's still relatively young, and he's got bags of poential.

With regards to other transfers, we've got to sign a couple of players, we've got to. Wilshere and Arteta are pivotal to our side and it's only January and we're already in danger of over-playing them.
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17/01/2013 16:06:00

The word on the grapevine is that terms have been agreed with Theo for a while, it's the small details now. Image rights etc.
Little Dutch
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17/01/2013 16:50:00

That makes a lot of sense.
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17/01/2013 17:15:00

If Walcott is in the bag then I am so ready to get behind an Arsenal team where the core group of players will stay put. I don't care if they're not all world class stars, to have a proper team again will be like meeting up with an old friend. Finally a few seasons without a revolving door of key players. It's long overdue.
Professor Calculus
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17/01/2013 17:52:00

You know I never even considered that Prof, we've effectively got all our top players, bar Sagna, nailed down for a few years. Well, as nailed down as they can be. That is a nice feeling.
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17/01/2013 18:00:00

Right with you there, Prof Calculus. Stability, please!
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17/01/2013 19:01:00

I really wouldn't get too excited about Cavani, deltaforce. If you listen to the press conf rather than reading the headlines, it's doesn't really amount to an expression of interest and certainly wasn't an admission of having made a bid - journos getting ahead of themselves. The Zaha interest seemed concrete, though.
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17/01/2013 19:37:00

This is good news, but the onus is on Theo to prove himself. No longer just a talent, or potential, it's time to deliver 20 goals for the next 3 seasons. Will be interesting to see how he handles that pressure. We've invested a lot of time and money in him, and it would have been a shame if he had left this summer.
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17/01/2013 19:53:00

....we did have Alex Song nailed down for a few years, though, but see what he did when Barca flashed him a smile.
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18/01/2013 00:21:00

I will prefer it that we get the Theo Walcott matter behind us. He will be immense for us in a couple of years time so no need going through the frustrating times with him only to allow him leave just when he should be repaying the faith shown in him.
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18/01/2013 00:23:00

Naija - I thought it had been made clear that we sold Song to Barca rather than him wanting to leave. All the noises sounded as though Alex wanted to stay at Arsenal but he got pushed out the door.
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18/01/2013 00:41:00

I agree fungunner. Not excited by the Cavani news if you read my post as there is a nil chance of that happening. What one is excited about is the possibility of some other forward being tracked by the club as AW atleast agrees that it is a focus area for new player recruitment.
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18/01/2013 05:45:00

Rocky, just making the point that tying players to long term contracts doesn't guarantee that they will always see out the tenure. Barca showed an interest and it got into Song's head, affecting his attitude. Easy decision then to push him out the door.
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18/01/2013 10:32:00

Song's people talked to a reporter, trying to deflect any anger or criticism onto the club. They said he kept asking the club to sit down and talk about a new contract (with three years still to run on the old one, mind you!) and that he was getting frustrated. He said Barca was a train he couldn't miss and he set Arsenal a deadline (!) of talks before the end of the transfer window. The significance of the date presumably being that he could get a move to Barca before the window closed, if the Arsenal talks didn't go to his satisfaction. The club said no, it had to be after, which, according to Song's people, was the last straw. This is the story as recounted by Song's side. They also said in the article that Song would have been happy to stay, but don't go as far as to claim or imply he was booted out against his will.
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18/01/2013 11:26:00

Oh, well...
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18/01/2013 13:39:00

It's being reported that Theo has signed; still, not one line on this on the official site. Do the rags know better than the club??
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18/01/2013 13:50:00

They're probably choosing the photos or getting Feo to wash his hands.
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18/01/2013 13:58:00

Whilst he's a fine & much improved player, i'm actually amazed your board has decided to brake the bank for Theo and not on some previous departures. If its true that he's your highest earner then something is quite odd when you have other more important players. It's a bit like Spurs making Defoe or Lennon our highest earner. Good players, but that good? It must be political, to take some heat off the board & to show the fans that they are willing to invest.
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18/01/2013 14:19:00

@ HY - He doesn't really deserve it, but we can't afford to see another big player walk and Theo knows it. That's all. We haven't broken the bank, either, by the sound of it. He's getting what Podolski is reported to be on. I can't be bothered to go into the details of previous cases, but either we couldn't compete with City's offer or the players just wanted to go to Barca/United/City come what may. The rest of the sqad think he's the bees knees, so I don't think it will cause problems in that sense.
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18/01/2013 14:53:00

Am happy he has signed.. Despite all his flaws, I think he can get better and this is a welcome change from our recent history.
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18/01/2013 14:55:00

Well said there, FunGunner & Sajit. The club needed to stem the tide of departures and improve on our reputation as a side that will sell instead of spending a few pennies more. I think Theo has set the tone and won't be in the top bracket of earners for too long, as other contracts start to fall due or new acquisitions made. With an eye on TV revenues and our commercial deals falling due for renewals, the club can afford this easily.
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18/01/2013 15:17:00

They're probably choosing the photos or getting Feo to wash his hands.-FunGunner. I saw what you did there ;-)
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18/01/2013 15:19:00

Only thing Im a bit surprised about is the fact that the deal is only for 3.5 years. Which essentially means htat he falls into unprotected period just after 1.5 season.. i mean its risky - if he backs up his pay rise with say 20goals a season, then he will again fall into unprotected peridod. On the other hand, if he sucks, then we can let go of him without burning too much. I think its best decision at the moment. But he really needs to push his performances up a notch.
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18/01/2013 15:32:00

If Theo signs a new contract then it is protected for 3 years from then.
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18/01/2013 15:40:00

@ Amos - Phew. So that means it's protected until Jan 2016?
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18/01/2013 15:49:00

3.5 years isn't really a long term contract. Jack's 5 year contract is what you'd call long term.
Wyn Mills
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18/01/2013 15:51:00

@ naijagunner :) I was sure he was just bs-ing and wanted to go to Man City, but it turned out that he just wanted to cash in at Arsenal. Water under the bridge, now. Glad you're staying and welcome back to the fold, Theo.
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18/01/2013 15:54:00

3m signing on bonus (euphemism for his agent's fee).
Wyn Mills
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18/01/2013 16:03:00

Actually I think it's protected for the full 3.5 years. As you can only unilaterally terminate your contract at the end of a season it should be secure until June 2016.
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18/01/2013 16:03:00

I like the 3.5 year length of the deal. He has a lot of potential and has shown signs of realizing it. But he still has not proven himself to me. If he keeps playing well this season and bangs in 20+ goals next season, we renegotiate. If he runs hot and cold we aren't stuck with him forever. I think he's getting much more consistent and he does have some skill. I'm not sure what Jenkinson, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, or Ramsey did to warrant long term extensions though -I think all of those deals came a year early. Stability is good, and welcome after the last two year's annual summer boot sale, but aside from Gibbs I only see bench players - good bench players, but at the moment that's all they are.
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19/01/2013 05:39:00


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