Latest Gunners crisis eases as Walcott stays for now

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Theo Walcott last night hastily reached a short-term agreement which means the England winger won’t leave the club this week.

Walcott met with Arsenal last night in a meeting which included manager Arsene Wenger to discuss his future.

Walcott did not back down over his contract demands but gave assurances he definitely wanted to stay with the Gunners in the long-term.

Arsenal had been braced for the prospect of selling Walcott before the transfer window closes on Friday but they will now continue negotiations beyond then and effectively risk losing him for nothing next summer.

That is a scenario the club have not been prepared to tolerate in the past. The difference with Walcott is there is genuine hope an agreement can be reached, although how Arsenal and manager Wenger would react to a big-money bid in the next 48 hours remains to be seen. Walcott, who has been valued at upwards of £12 million (€15 million) has already been linked with Liverpool this summer. Reports suggest champions Manchester City are also interested in adding the England star to their ever-increasing arsenal of former Gunners after seeing a bid for Swansea’s Scott Sinclair rejected.

It is understood Arsenal offered Walcott a contract worth around £75,000-a-week over five years. But the player wants £100,000-a-week, along with assurances about his role in the team.

Losing Walcott would be viewed by many as another huge blow to Arsenal, who sold captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United and Alex Song to Barcelona earlier this month.

A lack of goals has seen Wenger’s summer signings come under scrutiny but one of them, Olivier Giroud, has denied he is feeling the pressure of helping fill the shoes of van Persie.

“I’m not the kind of person to put negative pressure on my shoulders,” the France striker told Arsenal Player.

“I need a little adjustment time but I hope to make my mark as quickly as possible. And I hope to score a lot of goals.”

Meanwhile Wayne Rooney last night dismissed speculation he is leaving Manchester United. United boss Alex Ferguson has already insisted the England striker, currently out of action with a leg injury sustained in Saturday’s defeat of Fulham, remains in his plans. And Rooney himself said via his Twitter account last night: “Read the nonsense in the papers and heard what people have to say. absolute rubbish #heretostay.”

Elsewhere Moussa Dembele signed for Tottenham last night — but further doubt was cast on the future of Rafael van der Vaart as Andre Villas-Boas revamps his squad.

Spurs and Fulham confirmed the transfer of Dembele for a fee in the region of £15m after the forward agreed a five-year contract. The Belgian international midfielder added on Twitter: “Happy to confirm I signed a new contract with Tottenham FC!”

The news followed a declaration by Hamburg that they would do everything possible to re-sign Van der Vaart from Tottenham before the transfer window closed.

Spurs boss Villas-Boas has also renewed the interest he showed while Chelsea boss in Shakhtar Donetsk forward Willian, who could fill the void left by the departure of Luka Modric.

QPR outcast Joey Barton could yet get his wish and move to Marseille.

Barton flew to France yesterday and Baup told OM’s website: “Joey Barton is in the building. I don’t know if it will be finalised today or how it will turn out.”


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