Arsenal’s squad is looking relatively settled ahead of a new campaign that promises so much for the Emirates Stadium faithful.
With the core of Arsene Wenger’s side being together for a number of years and top-quality additions such as Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Petr Cech joining the contingent to add that star appeal, the majority of Gunners fans have high hopes for 2015-16.
Ironically, it is the future of one of the longest serving members of the Arsenal squad that has been dominating newspaper inches of late, with Theo Walcott’s contract situation in the limelight.
The former Southampton prodigy faced the same proposition a could of years ago and was linked with an exit, only to pen an extension with the North London club.
Now, with Walcott’s contract again running down and rumblings of a move elsewhere gathering steam, it is believed that the England international has asked for more than £100,000 per week to agree a new deal at the Emirates Stadium.
Looking at it objectively, this figure is relatively high in Arsenal’s wage structure and granting the astronomical amount would be handing over a considerable amount of money every week to a player who is certainly not guaranteed a first-team place.
Although Walcott suffered debilitating injuries last season, when he did return to availability he was largely overlooked and used as an impact substitute rather than a starter in Wenger’s preferred side.
The presence of Olivier Giroud as Arsenal’s main striker blocks a route to Walcott’s favoured position, while the likes of Sanchez, Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck add fierce competition for the other supporting roles.
Wenger puts more faith and investment into his players than most of his Premier League management equivalents and surely has undoubted trust and an affinity with Walcott having coached him for so many years.
If he gets back to his best, Walcott has the ability to command a regular place and could well play a big role in the club’s quest for silverware.
That said, there is a valid argument to suggest that at this time it may well be in Arsenal’s interest to deny the Englishman the bumper salary that he craves and look to cash in on him before his contract runs down.
With the transfer fee that the versatile attacker would fetch and the wages that he already earns, a real star could be added to Wenger’s squad – someone who could turn Arsenal into consistent title challengers.
Walcott’s deal has time to run and as such Arsenal are still in a position where they do not have to be held to ransom by the star.
If the England attackers starts next season like he finished the last, on the bench for the majority of time, then the Gunners could well realise that Walcott is not worth £100,000 per week and that the resources could be better used elsewhere.