Walcott contract talks still unresolved

Theo Walcott - Singapore

Theo Walcott has yet to put pen to paper on a new contract at the Emirates, but still has two years left on his current deal after he signed on for three and a half years, eighteen months ago, a saga that was also overly drawn out.

However the 26-year-old is hopeful of staying at a ‘special’ club and is looking forward to what could prove to be a big year for the team, he believes.

“My agent has talked to the club.

“I enjoy playing for this club, so I am just letting them crack on with things and I’ll continue playing football.

“We’ll just play the waiting game and see what happens but I’m sure it won’t be long. This squad, for me, is one of the best I’ve been involved in. I want to be part of that.”

Asked whether he would be happy if the talks carried on past the start of the upcoming campaign, he added: “Definitely. It’s not in my thought process at all.

“You don’t want to dwell on it, you want to play well and, if it happens, it happens.

“I won’t let that delay the way I’m going to be playing this season. I can’t let that affect me, I want to do well for this club.

“It’s my first pre-season for two years now, so I want to work hard and get fit.

“It’s a really exciting year for myself personally and I think this team can go very far.”

Adding: “I’m always going to be judged on goals. I’ve been very happy with my goal record when given the opportunity, that is all I can do.”

Arsenal are reported to be in the market for a striker, despite a strong end to the season from Theo who continued his goalscoring form at the weekend, scoring the opener in a 3-1 win over Everton to win the Barclays Asia Trophy.

The strikers names most recently being mentioned are those of Karim Benzema and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, having already missed out on some targets there is not a wealth of proven talent left to select from.

So is it vital that Arsenal sign a striker in order to compete for the major trophies?

Club Captain signs one-year extension

Arsenal’s club captain, Mikel Arteta, has signed on for another year at the Emirates, after it looked as though he might leave following a lengthy delay in the signing of his contract, which was reportedly agreed months ago. 

Arteta, who is now 33-years-old, missed a lot of last season through injury, and now faces an uphill challenge to break back into a hugely competitive Arsenal midfield which has seen Coquelin make Arteta’s position his own.

Reports in Spain have suggested that a number of clubs in La Liga have been interested in signing the Spaniard who has a wealth of experience and was brought up in the Barcelona academy before moving to the UK.

But does this mean Arsene Wenger is no longer intending to bring in additional midfield reinforcements? Having not so long ago signed Tomas Rosicky for another year as well.

Arsenal have been linked with a host of defensive midfielders, including Morgan Schneiderlin, Arturo Vidal, Carvalho of Sporting Lisbon, and even Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan. None of whom look any closer to actually signing for Arsenal.

With Francis Coquelin’s new emergence on the scene, and Jack Wilshere, who is familiar with that deep midfield position for England and has reportedly trained over his summer break following some good post-injury form, Arsenal have a wealth of options in the centre.

When you also consider the midfield engine that is Aaron Ramsey, two of Arsenal’s stand out players last year, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil, not to mention the experienced heads of Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini, then suddenly there is a distinct lack of space in the squad.

Surely at least one of these players will need to make way before Arsenal sign another midfielder, but it now appears that this midfielder will not be Mikel Arteta.

Sanchez to miss start of season

Alexis Sanchez is set to miss the start of Arsenal’s season, having been given an extended holiday following his Copa America triumph on Saturday evening. 

Sanchez played a further 6 games for his country since the end of Arsenal’s season, leading them to a first Copa America title in 99 years, where he scored the winning penalty against Argentina to ruin Messi’s chance of winning a major tournament with his country.

This run of games for Alexis follows what had already proved a physically challenging first year in England for the Chilean, where the game is more intense, and he barely missed a kick in a season where there are no Christmas breaks.

Having said that, Sanchez lives to play football every week, and he certainly didn’t look too tired when he sprinted three-quarters of the pitch in the 105th minute against Argentina in the final, only to just miss out on finding the net in what ended up as 120 minute bore-draw.

But Arsene Wenger is renowned for looking after his players, and as Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker were given additional time off following their World Cup heroics last summer, Alexis is set to receive the same treatment this time round from the manager.

The 26-year-old is reportedly due to return to training on the 27th July, giving him less than a week back with the other players before they take on Chelsea in the Community Shield; and just under two weeks before the Premier League season kicks off.

The rest of the Arsenal squad who were not involved in the tournament, returned to training yesterday, as they look to prepare for what will hopefully be a season full of promise, and finally a real title challenge.