Arsenal winger Theo Walcott’s current contract is due to expire next year, with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger already telling him that he faces a battle for a regular spot in the first-team.
Wenger says that he is ready for another long drawn out battle with the Arsenal star after having opened negotiations on a new long-term deal for Walcott, who is already making £90,000 per-week.
His last contract when right down to the wire with Walcott finally agreeing to a deal with less than six month remaining when he signed in January of 2013.
The Arsenal boss is now getting ready to go all through it again saying: “The first contacts have been established with the embassy! We will see how that progresses politically.
“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.”
The 26-year-old is worried about how much first team football he will get moving forwards after having just started four games for the club since returning from a long-term Knee injury in November finding himself pushed down the pecking order with Wenger opting to start Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck rather than him.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game with West Ham Wenger said: “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.”
Walcott was in a position of power the last time around after the Gunners had just lost Robin van Persie to Manchester United, but this time the role has reversed meaning that the England winger may have to move to a smaller club if he wants to play regularly, and it is almost certain that Arsenal will not want to increase his wage given his current bench warming position.
Wenger added: “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.”
Now that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is out for what could be a month Wenger said: “It is an opportunity for Theo. He is ready to play.”