Arsenal must break their wage structure to keep hold of Theo Walcott, says former Adrain Clarke.
The 23-year-old winger has yet to pen a new deal at The Emirates and looks set to leave the club, either in January or at the end of next season on a free when his current contract expires.
If this was to ensue, then Walcott would become the latest star on the list to leave the club, with Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Alex Song all departing in the space of two seasons.
And Clarke believes Arsene Wenger must not let this happen, urging his former manager to do everything in his power to keep hold of the England international:
‘It comes to a point where you have to bend a little,” he told Extra Time. “Arsenal have really good principles. They don’t break the bank for anybody, they’re not held to ransom and they’ve got a strict wage policy.
‘They don’t like to favour one player over another but sometimes you have to keep hold of your best players.
‘You have to bend it a little bit and restructure so that Theo [Walcott] is happy. I don’t think Theo is asking for the earth.’
‘There does come a point where they have to push the boat out just a little and see if we can give these star men what they want and build a team around them.’
Liverpool, Chelsea and PSG have all been linked with a move for Walcott, and Clark firmly believes Wenger wants to keep hold of him as he is an important asset to the side:
‘Arsene Wenger definitely wants Theo Walcott to stay at Arsenal. There’s no question about that.
‘He knows he’s a good player and an important player to keep at the club, he doesn’t want to lose another key man.’
If the board were not prepared to adjust or break their wage structure to keep hold of Robin van Persie, who was arguably our best player last season, what makes Clarke think they will do it for Walcott?
If he wants to go then he should. And even if does want to stay, what makes him think he is worthy of the cash he is demanding?
It’s a very dodgy situation for both club and player, as I believe Walcott can become a big player for us in the future, while Arsenal are unwilling to hand him what he wants.
Hopefully, for the good of the club, this issue is resolved, like Wenger said, by Christmas.
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