Walcott wants to stick with Arsenal, but only as a striker
Meanwhile another Chelsea target, Neymar, is about to be the subject of an irresistible offer from PSG
ENGLAND and Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has expressed his wish to remain at the Emirates. The 23-year-old is in the final year of his existing contract with the Gunners and negotiations to sign a new deal have gone nowhere, not unlike one of Walcott's runs down the flank.
But The Sun says Walcott is "desperate to stay at Arsenal" despite interest from Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea in the last week of the summer transfer window. "I have always wanted to stay," Walcott is quoted as saying. "Hopefully, something can be agreed but it takes time, it is one of these things that is not going to happen overnight. I've got to be patient."
It's alleged Walcott turned down a £75,000-a-week offer from Arsenal and that's apparently led manager Arsene Wenger to warn the player to decide his future within the next two months. But Walcott insists his refusing to sign a new deal has nothing to do with readies. "This summer there were other opportunities to go, so if it was about money I would have gone," he said, adding: "I love the club, I love playing for the manager, for the team and we have made some great signings."
But things might not be that simple. The Daily Telegraph claims that Walcott is standing his ground because he will only sign if Wenger agrees to play him as a striker rather than a winger. Walcott said he wanted to become a legend like Thierry Henry, and wanted to follow in his footsteps by switching from wing to attack.
While Walcott may be prepared to stick witgh the Gunners it is not clear if the same is true of Bacary Sagna, who could follow in the footsteps of fickle full-backs Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy and walk out on the club. Sagna has made it clear over the summer that he has not been impressed by Arsenal's lack of trophies and the departure of key players in recent years.
Arsene Wenger remains hopeful of presuading the Frenchman to extend his current contract, which expires in 2014, but if he won't then a move to Inter Milan is on the cards according to the Mirror.
In other news the Metro reports that Paris Saint-Germain are poised to make an £85m bid for Neymar, a long term target of Chelsea's. The talented 20-year-old Brazilian has wowed the world since coming to prominence with Santos three years ago.
Chelsea have made no secret of their admiration for the South American striker, and Real Madrid, AC Milan and Manchester City have also been linked to Neymar. But according to the Metro it's French outfit PSG who are gearing up to make Santos an irresistible offer in January though the transfer might be protracted because of "the intricate sponsorship deals that Neymar has signed" while in Brazil.
Former PSG star Rai has told the French media he believes the Parisian club "will face stiff competition" from Chelsea for Neymar's signature but that PSG have the financial clout to see off even the Blues.
And Neymar isn't the only star PSG are reported to be targeting. According to respected publication France Football, they also want to land Manchester City full-back Pablo Zabaleta. The 27-year-old Argentine has been part of the City furniture since 2008 but that hasn't stopped PSG adding him to their New Year wishlist. France Football claim that a £14.5m bid will be forthcoming the moment the clock strikes midnight on 31 December. Whether Zabaleta would want to leave the Etihad remains to be seen but a big money offer might well weaken the Sky Blues resolve.
Elsewhere and the Evening Standard reports that West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble is poised to put an end to speculation over his future by signing a new contract with the Hammers. The England Under-21 playmaker was rumoured to be considering his options over the summer, but the Standard claims he's decided to sign a new deal that will keep him in East London until 2017.
Finally, Talksport reports that Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will make another attempt to sign France full-back Mathieu Debuchy from Lille at the start of 2013. The Magpies made a concerted attempt to poach the 27-year-old in the summer but the French club told them in no uncertain terms to get off their land. Now, however, Talksport say Pardew has been "receiving encouraging" signs from across the Channel that perhaps Lille have had a change of heart towards potential trepassers.