x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Arsenal keen to transfer Swansea hurt on to the field

Players upset but it is no reason to go overboard, says Wenger, even as frustration grows over stalled contract talks with Walcott and Sagna.

Prolonged discussions with Theo Walcott, left, has left Arsene Wenger frustrated.
Prolonged discussions with Theo Walcott, left, has left Arsene Wenger frustrated.

Arsene Wenger is confident Bacary Sagna will sign a new contract with Arsenal, but confessed he is "frustrated" over no fresh progress in talks with Theo Walcott.

Sagna, the 29-year-old full-back, had been reported to be dismayed by the terms of the 12-month extension on offer from the Gunners, with the France international said to be seeking an improvement on his weekly wage of £60,000 (Dh353,000) and a longer deal.

Wenger, though, maintains those reports are wide of the mark as he looks to tie up the defender on a long-term deal.

"I do not understand these speculations," Wenger said ahead of today's home game with West Bromwich Albion.

"He has one-and-a-half years of his contract to go, and we are in negotiations with him to extend the contract which are very positive, so I am quite amazed by these statements because it is completely opposite of the feelings we have with the player, and with the negotiations we have about his extension."

Walcott will miss today's match because of a calf injury. The England forward, 23, will be out of contract at the end of the season, and there has been speculation he will be sold in the January transfer window. Wenger said: "With Theo, I have no news.

"I personally am not involved in that directly - indirectly, of course, yes - but at the moment we have not made any progress.

"Honestly, I am frustrated.

"Between the player and me it is all clear, he knows what he wants and he has to make up his mind."

Wenger added: "We have been in negotiations with Theo for a long, long time, and we have not been late in our renegotiations with him.

"We always try to extend the contracts very early."

Sagna faces a fitness test on his foot injury, but is doubtful, while the German forward Lukas Podolski is out because of a hamstring problem.

Despite slumping to 10th in the league after last weekend's 2-0 home defeat by Swansea City, the Gunners have qualified for the knockout stages of the Uefa Champions League, and Wenger was keen to reaffirm his view that there was no crisis at the club.

Wenger said: "Let's not go overboard. We have 24 games to play, we are in all the competitions, what many clubs would love to be, so it is down to us to make the season right and to turn the season around well on our side.

"I am confident we will and I believe we have the quality to do it."

Mikel Arteta added that the players were determined to bounce back from their setback to Swansea. "People are hurting, people are upset with themselves, the players are angry. I think that's a good thing," the Spanish midfielder, said.

"It's not like players couldn't care less. They know what they need to do."


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