Arsenal transfers: We’re ready to risk losing Walcott on a free – Wenger
Arsenal transfers: Arsene Wenger says Arsenal are prepared to risk losing Theo Walcott on a free transfer this summer
Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal are prepared to risk losing Theo Walcott on a free transfer this summer rather than selling him in January.
The 23-year-old’s future has been a source of constant speculation in recent months, with his Arsenal contract set to expire next summer and negotiations over a new deal ongoing.
It has been suggested that the Gunners could look to cash-in on Walcott in the winter transfer window, with Serie A champions Juventus among the clubs linked with the England international’s signature.
But Wenger is prepared to make Walcott, who has been ruled out of Wednesday’s clash with Montpellier with a shoulder problem, see out his contract even if it means he could walk away for nothing in the summer.
“I don’t know if you call that high-risk but it is just my opinion,” said Wenger. “What is important is what we achieve together for the season. I just think that Theo is a big part in that.
“There’s a risk [of losing him for free], yes, but we are ready to take it. A successful season is more important for us than this risk that is only a financial risk, apart from the losing the player.
“If we sell him we lose him anyway. I believe that we started the season with this squad and we want to finish the season with this squad.”
Arsenal v Montpellier: Pre-match facts
• The sides had not met before matchday one and the reunion gives Arsenal the chance to register their first win in the competition at home to French opponents.
• Arsenal won four of their five home games in last season’s competition, the exception a 0-0 draw with Olympique Marseille on matchday four.
• Arsenal squandered a two-goal lead for the second time in four days on 10 November, drawing 3-3 with Fulham.
• Montpellier have scored in each of their last 15 games, but won just four in that time.