Arsenal set to play Walcott and kick-start contract talks?

Arsene Wenger has revealed that the contract talks between Arsenal and England star Theo Walcott are not exactly proceeding rapidly. The Frenchman made a cheeky reference to the difference between Walcott´s speed on the pitch and his dithering off it, as the last contract talks seemed to take forever as well.

But as The Mirror have reported, Wenger has declared that the negotiations or lack of them are not the reason why he has not been playing the flying forward much recently. The reason for that, according to the manager, is that Walcott has still been getting back to full fitness after more than a year on the sidelines due to injury.

Wenger said, “Walcott was difficult to convince (last time) and that’s why it took us much time.

“We started very early with him but it was slow progress. He is very quick on the pitch but off the pitch not always.

“I want him to stay and be a regular player and fight for his place but no matter where you go if it is a big club you have to compete for your place.

“We went to Manchester United on Monday – look at what they had on the bench. Look at what was sitting on the bench at Chelsea v Paris St Germain on Wednesday. That is part of the job.

“We bought Sanchez and Welbeck because when you are responsible for a club and you know a player is out for a year and will not play until January, you cannot sacrifice the first six months.

“Players know they cannot play every game. We all know that. But it is normal some want to be on the pitch all the time. That is human.”

“[Ox´s injury] is an opportunity for Theo. He is ready to play.”

That last line is interesting and suggests to me that Wenger is ready to unleash Walcott, perhaps in the home game against West Ham today. If he doesn´t start, expect him to come on as a sub. And then we have the trip to Monaco on Tuesday. Maybe Wenger thinks a couple of games now could be just the thing to encourage Theo to sign a new deal, or at least start to talk seriously about it.

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