Arsenal Will Lose Theo Walcott, Bacary Sagna and More

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Arsenal Will Lose Theo Walcott, Bacary Sagna and More
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The Daily Mirror is reporting that Bacary Sagna and Theo Walcott have been left out of Arsenal's 2013 calendar.

Both players have been linked with moves away from the club and contract talks with both have stalled.

Arsenal says there is no significance in the calendar omissions.

Let me put this plainly: that is not true.

Sagna and Walcott will leave Arsenal. If not this winter, then by season's end.

How do I know this? Because Arsene Wenger says he expects them to stay. In September, he expected Sagna to stay and earlier this month he pledged to do "the maximum" to keep Walcott.

If recent years have shown anything it is that when Wenger says these types of things about Arsenal players, they head out the door a short time later.

Last year, Wenger said he expected Robin van Persie to stay. He didn't.

Wenger said he would not sell Alex Song to Barcelona. Four days later, he did.

A year before that, Wenger said he expected Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas to stay. They didn't.

Arsenal in 2012 is simply not a club that can compete for players in the two ways that matter most to the best of them: titles and money.

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Wenger has fiddled while Arsenal have been consistently drained in the transfer market.

Arsenal cannot promise to compete for league and Cup titles each year.

The Gunners currently sit sixth, already 10 points off the pace. Last season's third place finish saw them 19 points behind the Manchester duo at the top of the table. A year earlier, they won just two of their final 11 matches to fade to a fourth place finish.

Top four yes, but the idea that Arsenal is competing for the Premier League title each season is becoming more and more untenable.

Over the same time period in the Champions League, Wenger has bravely led his men each year into the Round of 16 before being sent home mumbling about brave efforts and better luck next year.

Top players who have competitive ambitions can simply do better than Arsenal at this point in time.

The money question is trickier. Arsenal doesn't lack the money to compete for top players—it seems Wenger lacks the will to spend the money Arsenal has.

Arsenal have brought in players, but the team has not improved. The Arsenal of three years ago was a better team than the Arsenal of today.

Mark my words, Sagna and Walcott will leave. Wenger will promise to use the money made from their sale to improve the team, but it will be for naught.

Arsenal fans should worry beyond this season's impending departures.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Without a change of philosophy, Jack Wilshere could be the next young Gunner star out the door.

According to the BBC, the club has opened discussions with budding superstar Jack Wilshere over a new long-term contract.  The 20-year-old only has two-and-a-half years remaining on his current deal.

If recent Arsenal history shows us anything, it is that Wilshere will not sign an early contract extension. He will bide his time and take a look at the club's competitive direction.

That should provide just about enough time for a steadily declining Arsenal to finally finish outside the Champions League spots. Once that happens, Wilshere and the other young English Gunners Wenger is backing as Arsenal's future will start sizing up their moves to more trophy-laden clubs.

Looking back over Arsenal's transfer dealings of the past few seasons, no one will blame the players when they go.

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