Arsenal could be set to wave goodbye to another first-team regular this summer, with the news that Theo Walcott has rejected the club's offer of a new contract. Having already entered the final 12 months of his deal, the England winger may now be sold before the transfer deadline.
Theo Walcott could be poised to exit Arsenal after rejecting a new contract.
Walcott turned down the club's offer of a five-year contract worth £75,000 a week, according to the Guardian. While manager Arsene Wenger is said to be eager to keep Walcott, the Guardian claims that the club will now look to sell the 23-year-old rather than lose him for nothing next summer.
Manchester City and Liverpool are both thought to be interested, with Arsenal said to be willing to listen to offers of around £15 million for a player they signed from Southampton in 2006.
Arsenal fans will doubtless be frustrated that the club finds itself in the same situation that led to the departure of talismanic captain Robin van Persie to rivals Manchester United earlier this month.
However, it would be hard to ration that Walcott would represent anything like the same scale of loss as Van Persie. While he contributed eight assists in the Premier League last season, there is little doubt that he has not developed to the level that would have been expected when he was signed as a 16-year-old.
Wenger may also feel he has cover on the right wing, with Gervinho starting there against Stoke on Sunday and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain versatile enough to play in a variety of positions. Wenger is also thought to have high hopes for 17-year-old Serge Gnabry.
While Walcott could yet depart, Arsenal could also be busy bringing players in before Friday's deadline.
Following the exit of Alex Song to Barcelona, Wenger has suggested that he is looking to bring in a defensive midfielder. While the club has been linked with Rennes' Yann M'Vila for several months, it appears increasingly unlikely that the France international will be making his way to the Emirates this summer.
"We have had some contact, but not much more than that," Rennes general manager Pierre Dreossi told The Guardian.
"The longer it drags on, the more we think he will [stay at the club].
"We are lucky to have a financial backer who has the means to wait another six months or a year [before selling].
"So if Yann has to stay, then good. We will be stronger with him."
Reports of late have also claimed that the Gunners were looking toward Newcastle's Cheick Tiote to add some tenacity to their technically-proficient midfield. It is believed that an offer of £20 million may be enough to secure the Ivorian, but it appears that Wenger was accurate when playing down the speculation.
According to ESPN's sources close to Tiote, the 26-year-old is happy to remain on Tyneside.
A report in the Daily Mail claims that Etienne Capoue also remains an option for the Gunners. The Toulouse midfielder made his debut for France earlier this month and has also been linked to Arsenal by various publications in the past.
Wenger has also intimated that he could be looking to bolster his defensive options for the season ahead. The Mail reports that Swansea's Angel Rangel has joined his list of targets. At first glance the 29-year-old Spaniard may seem an unlikely potential signing for Arsenal, but he could provide valuable cover for regular right-back Bacary Sagna, who is expected to be out until at least October with a broken leg.
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