Arsene Wenger is growing increasingly irritated with Theo Walcott's inability to sign a new contract.
The 23-year-old forward has six months remaining on his current deal. With the January transfer window looming, Walcott knows plenty of top-flight clubs will be interested in his services.
It is rumoured Liverpool and Chelsea will lead the chase for the speedy player's signature—if he fails to ink a new agreement before the turn of the year (via The Daily Mail). This situation has rumbled on ever since Walcott indicated he was unhappy with the sale of star striker and close friend Robin van Persie back in September (via The Sun).
The England international also announced his desire to play as a striker for the club (via BBC Sports). Walcott's public comments arrived at a time of great uncertainty for Arsenal. Although van Persie's sale looked to have been overcome with the signing of high-profile talents such as Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski, recent results have shrouded the club in uncertainty.
Arsenal have stuttered towards 10th place in the Premier League. Perhaps the worst ever start to a domestic campaign under Arsene Wenger is allowing Walcott the opportunity to prolong his decision. The former Southampton starlet seems to be insisting on a £100,000 per week deal, even though Arsenal are unlikely to expand upon their £75,000 per week offer (via The Daily Mail).
Despite remaining extremely calm throughout continued questioning, Arsene Wenger seems to be losing patience with the non-committal player. Speaking to The Daily Mail, Wenger commented, "I have no news. I am frustrated. He knows what I want and he has to make up his mind."
Frustration is a key theme at the Emirates right now. Arsenal's poor form on the pitch is causing unwanted headlines—especially when individuals like Walcott galvanise the sense of tension. Reports suggest Bacary Sagna could also exit the club (via The Independent), although these appear to be weightless right now.
Wenger has received plenty of flak recently. The struggling Frenchman needs the support of players he has installed his faith in so many times. Walcott's indecision is detrimental to a club that risks total capitulation if the remaining star names begin to leave.
While Walcott has performed well during his limited time on the pitch this season, a pay rise isn't likely. Five goals and four assists in seven starts and nine substitute appearances is a decent return across all competitions—but Walcott is yet to fully outline himself as a key ingredient to any Arsenal success. As we've seen with Wenger's aforementioned comments, the player's stubborn attitude isn't going to win him any fans at the club.
Arsene Wenger's next big decision is just around the corner. If Walcott doesn't sign within the next three weeks, it's time to sell up.
Now Wenger's growing sense of frustration is evident, expect this saga to reach its conclusion soon. The London-based club need a sense of unity and togetherness right now. Getting rid of Walcott might be the first step.
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All statistics in this article are courtesy of Whoscored.