Arsenal could be facing the loss of another big-name player, despite Arsene Wenger saying that Walcott will stay a Gunner. Walcott's contract is up after this summer, and it is still possible that Walcott is sold in the January transfer window regardless of what Wenger says.
Wenger stated, according to espn.co.uk, "We will not sell Theo in January, that is for sure. My gut feeling is he belongs to this club, and I hope he will stay. Once he makes up his mind, it will be done quick."
While that talk may be reassuring to some Arsenal supporters, until there is a contract in place or it's February 1 and Walcott remains in an Arsenal shirt, Wenger's talking means little. Even if the transfer window passes without Walcott being sold, there is still a chance he leaves in the summer without a deal and without any compensation to Arsenal.
Wenger is desperate after the mass exodus of the last 18 months to keep his young players, signing Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson to long-term contracts. The move is certainly an attempt to not only solidify their team, but to convince Walcott to join up for the extended future.
With Arsenal struggling to capture trophies, Wenger needs Walcott to join that list of players re-signed for the future and away from the growing list of stars that have left the Emirates for greener pastures, including Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie.
Wenger can't afford to not pay Walcott. If Walcott is sold in January, which should happen if Walcott doesn't agree to sign a contract in late January, Wenger will likely lose even more support from fans, who still haven't recovered from seeing van Persie lead Manchester United to the top of the table.
In addition to his big-money claims, Walcott would like to see an increased role as a central forward. Wenger gave him a chance in this role against Reading, but it will likely take a number of matches and opportunities to please Walcott.
Wenger and Arsenal are walking a fine line in dealing with Walcott. If they let him slip away, they face a ton of backlash that will only worsen should Arsenal drop toward the middle of the table.
The talking from Wenger means little at this point and shouldn't do anything to comfort the worrying Arsenal fans. Until a long-term contract is in place, Walcott's future at the club is extremely cloudy and volatile.