Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Arsene Wenger admits he is 'frustrated' as Theo Walcott refuses to back down over Arsenal contract talks

Arsene Wenger is looking for an upturn in Arsenal's fortunes
Arsene Wenger is looking for an upturn in Arsenal's fortunes

Arsene Wenger today admitted he has become frustrated over Theo Walcott’s refusal to sign a new deal with Arsenal but insists Bacary Sagna will commit his future to the club.

Talks have stalled with the Gunners refusing to increase their offer to ­Walcott of a four-year deal worth £75,000 a week.



The England international is seeking assurances he will be used more often as a striker, although it is understood he is also attempting to secure an improved financial package worth closer to £100,000 a week.



Wenger last month ruled out any prospect of Arsenal cashing in on the 23-year-old next month to avoid losing him for nothing when his contract expires in the summer, but urged ­Walcott to end the uncertainty by sorting out his future.



He 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.



“I am frustrated, honestly. Between the player and me it is all clear, he knows what he wants and he has to make up his mind.



“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.”



The club are also in negotiations with Sagna, although the situation is not as urgent given the 29-year-old has 18 months left on his deal.



Sagna is seeking a two-year extension with the club currently only prepared to offer an additional 12 months, prompting a stand-off, with Inter Milan among a number of clubs monitoring the situation.



But Wenger said: “I do not understand these speculations. He has one and a half years of his contract to go, and we are in negotiations with him to extend the contract which I am very positive about.



“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. Do I expect him to stay? Yes.”



Arsenal sit 10th in the Premier League after one win from their least six matches and host West Brom tomorrow. Emirates Stadium has been a difficult environment for the Gunners of late with some supporters voicing their frustration at the team’s performances.



Arsenal have won just three of their seven home League games this season and Wenger said: “We lack a little bit of confidence — when you don’t win that happens. At home I feel there is a little bit a lack of freedom to play. That is always our strength — we are a creative team who want to go forward. It is important that we have that.



“There’s one thing I don’t question and that’s the attitude and spirit of this team. I am mad about the fact we did not win against Swansea but I don’t question the attitude or the spirit or the desire to do well of this team. But, and I can say this all day, what is important is that we win the game when we play, and that’s what we want to do.



“Let’s not go overboard. We have 23 games to play, we are in all the competitions, where many clubs would love to [be], so it is down to us to make the season right and to turn the season around on our side. I’m confident we will and I believe we have the quality to do it.



“The championship doesn’t stop after 15 games. You count the points at the end of the season.”



Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Sagna (foot) and Walcott (calf) are all unavailable and join Abou Diaby and Laurent Koscielny, who have thigh strains, on the sidelines with Andre Santos (abdomen) also out.



Tomorrow’s match marks the club’s annual charity fundraising day for the Arsenal Foundation, which works to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people. Wenger and the entire first-team squad will donate a day’s wages to the cause.

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