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Wenger ‘frustrated’ over Walcott contract saga

Arsenal's Theo Walcott. Photo: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport Arsenal's Theo Walcott. Photo: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

Friday, December 7, 2012
10:52 AM

Arsene Wenger admits he is “frustrated” over no fresh progress in talks with Theo Walcott but is confident Bacary Sagna will sign a new contract with Arsenal.

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Walcott will miss tomorrow’s match because of a calf injury and the England forward, 23, will be out of contract at the end of the season.

There has been speculation he will be sold in the January transfer window but Wenger said: “With Theo, I have no news.”

He added: “I personally am not involved in that directly, indirectly of course yes, but at the moment we have not made any progress.

“Honestly, I am frustrated.

“Between the player and me it is all clear, he knows what he wants and he has to make up his mind.”

Wenger added: “We have been in negotiations with Theo for a long, long time, and we have not been late in our renegotiations with him.

“We always try to extend the contracts very early.”

Full-back Sagna, 29, had been reported to be dismayed by the terms of the 12-month extension on offer from the Gunners, with the France international said to be seeking an improvement on his £60,000-a-week wages and a longer deal.

Wenger, though, maintains those reports are wide of the mark as he looks to tie up the defender on a new, long-term deal.

“I do not understand these speculations,” Wenger said at this morning’s press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League clash against West Brom at Emirates Stadium.

“He has one-and-a-half year of his contract to go, and we are in negotiations with him to extend the contract which are very positive, so I am quite amazed by these statements because it is completely opposite of the feelings we have with the player, and with the negotiations we have about his extension.”

Sagna faces a fitness test on his foot injury, but is doubtful, while German forward Lukas Podolski is out because of a hamstring problem.

Despite slumping to 10th in the Premier League after last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat by Swansea, the Gunners have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, although that is as runners-up in Group B after losing 2-1 at Olympiakos on Tuesday night.

Wenger said: “Let’s not go overboard. We have 24 games to play, we are in all the competitions, what many clubs would love to [be], so it is down to us to make the season right and to turn the season around well on our side.

“I am confident we will and I believe we have the quality to do it.”

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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.