Juventus and Inter still keen to grab Arsenal’s Theo Walcott

Gunners’ winger remains a target as he’s left out of starting line-up in victory over Liverpool

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 07:18 ON Mon 3 Sep 2012

HE’S an Arsenal man for the moment but speculation remains that Theo Walcott will exit the Emirates in the New Year. As we reported last week, the Arsenal winger is at odds with the Gunners over a contract extension and the Daily Mirror believes the issue will raise its head again when January’s transfer window opens.

Apparently Juventus and Inter Milan “remain poised” to make a play for Walcott - who was omitted from Arsenal's starting line-up against Liverpool yesterday - with Paris Saint-Germain also circling the 23-year-old.

Manchester City and Liverpool can’t be ruled out of the equation, claims the Mirror, but it’s the Italian clubs who seem most determined to get their hands on Walcott. They might even attempt to persuade the England star to sign a pre-contract agreement in the New Year, allowing him to remain at Arsenal until the end of the season.
 
In other news, Didier Drogba's management company have denied rumours that the former Chelsea striker could be about to be released from his contract with Shanghai Shenhua of the Chinese Super League.

The Ivorian frontman was back in London last week amid reports that financial squabbles in Shanghai might result in Drogba and Nicolas Anelka being offloaded just months after their arrival in the Far East. But Sky Sports quotes a spokeswoman for Sports PR Company, who looks after Drogba’s interests in Britain, dismissing the stories as “nonsense”.

Not only that, added the spokeswoman, but Drogba is enjoying life in China and is looking forward to the league recommencing later this month after a three-week break. Despite the denials, however, Sky Sports says that Real Madrid are just one of the clubs monitoring the situation with a loan deal not ruled out at this stage.

Goal.com reports that the arrival of Matija Nastasic at the Etihad won’t result in 30-year-old Joleon Lescott being moved on. The 19-year-old Nastasic was snapped up by the Sky Blues on deadline day from Fiorentina, prompting rumours that Lescott might reconsider his future with City.

But according to goal.com Lescott will be “offered improved terms” in the New Year in a bid to tie down the England defender. Lescott’s existing contract expires at the end of the 2013-14 season and it’s believed City will tempt him with an increase in his current wages of £90,000-a-week and a one-year extension.

Finally, Liverpool are expected to make a loan move for Michael Owen in the wake of their 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday. The Daily Mail quotes manager Brendan Rodgers as saying: “We need a reinforcement, that’s obvious… any player that I believe can improve the squad, I will look at. We have got a very small group here.”

Liverpool had hoped to sign Fulham’s Clint Dempsey as a replacement for Andy Carroll, who joined West Ham last week, but the move fell through and now Rodgers is tipped to take Owen on a short-term basis. Owen scored 158 goals in 297 appearances for Liverpool before leaving for Real Madrid in 2004. · 

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