Hat-trick star Theo Walcott to thrash out Arsenal deal at last

Dec 31, 2012
Bill Mann

Formal negotiations over his future with Gunners have never even begun - but they will now

ARSENE WENGER and Theo Walcott will sit down in the next couple of weeks in an attempt “to thrash out a long-term deal”, according to The Sun.

The paper says the Arsenal star, who scored a superb hat-trick in the 7-3 thrashing of Newcastle at the weekend, has yet to enter formal negotiations with the club despite rumours to the contrary.

It’s been well publicised that Walcott is seeking a better deal at the Emirates but apparently Wenger will open talks with the 23-year-old the moment the transfer window opens. "Talks will happen over the next couple of weeks, though the exact timing is not finalised," an Arsenal insider told the club. "Nothing is expected before the FA Cup game at Swansea."

It’s believed Walcott won’t be going anywhere in January but he could still leave Arsenal in the summer if the Gunners don’t offer him the £95,000-a-week that he allegedly wants.

The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal are one of three Premier League clubs chasing Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby. Liverpool and Tottenham are also on the 22-year-old’s tail and, according to the Mail, the Germany Under-21 captain will discuss a possible move with all three when the transfer window opens tomorrow.

It’s reported that midfielder Holtby, whose father is English, has refused to sign a new deal with Schalke and his "immediate ambition" is to move to the Premier League.

Sky Sports reports that Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is adamant that Nani will not be sold during the January transfer window.

Arsenal are one of the clubs who have been linked to the 26-year-old winger in recent months after rumours began emanating from Old Trafford that Nani wasn’t happy with life on the bench. Asked if United would consider offloading the Portuguese star in the New Year, Ferguson replied: "We won't be letting him go. We need a Nani."

And despite the fact Nani has struggled for game time this season, Ferguson added: "He offers something different from the other players. He's an incredible talent, the boy… he's got a future here."

The Mirror claims that both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain will look to prise Ashley Cole from Chelsea this week. The England left-back’s contract expires at the end of the season and speculation is rife that the 32-year-old Cole is in his last season at the Bridge.

Whether he leaves in January or June remains to be seen, but the Mirror says Cole is "allowed to speak to foreign clubs" once January’s transfer window opens and that both Real and PSG intend to discuss a possible move. He may even sign a pre-contract agreement although the Mirror also says there's an outside chance Cole could remain at Chelsea if the Blues offer him a new and improved deal.

Chelsea’s hopes of landing Radamel Falcao have taken a dive after Atletico Madrid general manager Miguel Angel Gil Marin said the club had no intention of selling the red-hot striker in the foreseeable future.

Talksport reports that though the Colombian hitman is wanted by both Chelsea and Manchester City, Atletico will not be tempted to sell, no matter how big the offer. "He will remain with us [in January]," said Gil Marin. "At the end of the season I will talk with the player and we agreed when he came to Atletico if he decided it was better for his career, for his family, to go out I will try to help him."

However, Gil Marin give a glimmer of hope to the Premier League pair by claiming he wouldn’t stand in Falcao's way if an irresistible offer is dangled before him in June. "If you receive a proposal of seven times more than your salary then I’m sure you’d say you can’t forbid Falcao to increase his salary."

Finally, the Newcastle Chronicle says Demba Ba is "on the brink of quitting Newcastle United" with Chelsea and Arsenal said to be vying for the hand of the Senegal striker. Ba scored twice for the Magpies in Saturday’s extraordinary 7-3 defeat to Arsenal, and it appears they could be the last of his goals for the club.

The Chronicle says Ba has told his team-mates he wants to return to London, a city he knows well from his time with West Ham United, and that Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is hopeful of replacing the player with Loic Remy of Marseille.

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