Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has commented into the discussion about his playing future at the Emirates, saying that the delay in a new contract has not been about the money, but rather about football reasons.
The 23-year-old is on the final year of his contract at the Emirates, and with no new deal looming, was thought to have been a potential January or summer transfer from the Gunners.
However, the England international emphatically denied that there was a real issue in any new contract being made, and said that he wants to remain at the club for as long as he was permitted—potentially even turning into a club legend like Thierry Henry.
It's a slow process—my last contract took six months to happen. Hopefully it can be sorted out.
I've never said I wanted to go, I've always wanted to stay. I want to be an Arsenal legend. Thierry joined the club when he was 22 and I want to become an Arsenal legend like him, playing up front as well, which is a big factor for me.
I've played on the right wing and had the opportunity to play up front a bit more so I think it's about time.
That speculation on the money side of it has never been me. That's not me. I'm not the sort of person who's influenced by money.
I always make my decisions based on football and only football. Hopefully something can be sorted out. I'll just wait for the club to get back to us now and go from there.
Walcott also commented that he would no doubt be "disappointed" if the club sold him over the summer transfer window at the end of the year, or earlier, but would understand why the North London club would make that decision.
Having denied that his new contract stalling has to do with money, it seems from Walcott's comments that his main issue is that he isn't being played up front in attack.
The winger has scored 27 goals for the Gunners since joining the club six years ago, but has never made a starting appearance as a central striker for the club.
With Olivier Giroud struggling to find his feet and his predecessor, Robin van Persie, no longer at the club, this could well be the season where the England international gets the chance to prove himself up front as a genuine striker and not just a speed-machine winger.
Walcott has hinted (per The Independent) that manager Arsene Wenger could start him up front this Wednesday when the club plays their Capital One Cup clash against Coventry City on Tuesday night—a move that would be a "nice gesture" according to Walcott.
The match will seemingly be a comfortable win for the Gunners, and Wenger is likely to rest several of his big-name players, given the significance of their Premier League fixture on the weekend coming up—at home to Chelsea.
I think that if Walcott wants to stay at the club and prove himself, then give him a chance. Coventry will be an easy win for the Gunners, and it's a chance for Walcott to prove himself as a striker and not just a winger.
If he splutters, then the club can tell the 23-year-old that he isn't a striker, and despite being afforded the chance to play up front, he'll only play on the wing for Arsenal.
But if he stars, then the Gunners have a confidence-high striker who is scoring goals and giving the team some of their attacking edge back. Which, at the moment, is arguably the only thing missing from Arsenal's Premier League campaign.
And if that they get that back, albeit in Walcott, then they truly will be a formidable side in the English Premier League this season.
Should Walcott be allowed to play up front for Arsenal?
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