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Arsenal's English striker Theo Walcott gestures to the crowd following the English League Cup Fourth Round football match between Reading and Arsenal at The Madejski Stadium, in Reading, England on October 30, 2012. Arsenal won the game 7-5 after extra time. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ěliveî services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications *** Local Caption *** 789055-01-08.jpg
Arsenal's English striker Theo Walcott gestures to the crowd following the English League Cup Fourth Round football match between Reading and Arsenal at The Madejski Stadium, in Reading, England on October 30, 2012. Arsenal won the game 7-5 after extra time. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ěliveî services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications
 *** Local Caption *** 789055-01-08.jpg

Premier League clubs on alert as Theo Walcott nears Arsenal exit

The England international, who is free to negotiate with foreign clubs in January, is growing increasingly frustrated at Arsenal's failure to reopen discussions over a new contract.

Theo Walcott is growing increasingly frustrated at Arsenal's failure to reopen discussions over an extension of a contract that is due to expire next summer.

The England international, who is free to negotiate with foreign clubs in January, is perplexed by the lack of urgency with which his future had been addressed.

Despite requesting talks about a renewal last season, the forward was forced to wait until the summer to receive a formal offer from the club. Unimpressed by both Arsenal's attitude and the five-year term on offer, Walcott rejected their proposal and has been used sparingly since, starting just one Premier League fixture but scoring seven goals in all competitions.

Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool have inquired about the player's availability over the past 12 months, although it is unclear whether the Premier League champions will sustain their interest following Txiki Begiristain's appointment as director of football.

The Tottenham Hotspur coach Andre Villas-Boas is an admirer of Walcott, but is believed to be seeking a different type of central striker. Walcott had told friends that the opportunity to win trophies will be the most important factor in his decision making, ahead of playing time and financial factors.

Aware that he risks losing the player for no transfer fee, Arsene Wenger has stated that he wants Walcott's situation resolved before the January transfer window opens.

"There is urgency," said Wenger last week. "How much, I don't know, but there is urgency. We want to sort it out before Christmas, one way or the other."

 

sports@thenational.ae

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