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Gunners legend blasts Arsenal’s contract policy

Theo Walcott is recovering from a virus. Photo: Nick Potts/PA wire Theo Walcott is recovering from a virus. Photo: Nick Potts/PA wire

Friday, September 7, 2012
8:06 AM

Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn has urged the Gunners to change their stance on renewing players’ contracts or face losing more key players.

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The club lost captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United this summer as the player entered the final year of his contract and refused to sign an extension.

There are now question marks over Theo Walcott, who could discuss a free Bosman transfer away from the Emirates in January, and Bacary Sagna, who has admitted Arsenal have not opened contract talks despite only having two years left on his current deal.

The situation is of great concern to Winterburn, who thinks the club need to act fast.

“I would think that there has to be an internal review at the football club as to why several players are getting right down to inside the last year of their contracts,” he told Talk Sport.

“Really you need to start nailing them down when they’ve got a year-and-a-half to go.

“When you drop inside that last year, in players’ minds they’re starting to question if the clubs still want them, a little bit.

“From Arsenal’s view that is something that needs to be looked at.”

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.

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