Arsene Wenger has implied that Theo Walcott should be loyal to Arsenal after the club signed him as a teenager and made him into an England international and first team regular at a very young age, the
Walcott and Arsenal are currently in a contract standoff, with the forward’s existing deal expiring at the end of the season and precious little movement made on fresh terms. Wenger however believes Walcott will eventually put pen to paper, and has publically urged the club’s board to do all they can to meet the player’s wage demands.
The Mirror claims Walcott is seeking a pay packet worth £100,000 per week and Wenger feels that while Arsenal’s carefully balanced wage structure cannot be totally compromised, there should be some room for manoeuvre in this case.
“I am happy to pay Theo the money he deserves. I believe the board will follow my recommendation if it is possible,” Wenger said. “We have a wage bill that has to be respected. When the cost is higher than expected, I ask the board to do it and most of the time they follow my demands.”
The manager added however that having signed Walcott from Southampton when he was just 17-years-old, he believes he is an “Arsenal man” now, and that at various points in time Wenger has taken flak for his faith in young players, including Walcott, which should now be repaid.
“But I feel as well that I bought him at 17 years of age and spent a lot of money on him,” Wenger said. “I can say ‘I paid you at 17, 18, 19 years of age and I know I took a gamble. If you put them in at 17 or 18, you have to stand up for them. You know risk losing games while they are learning their job.
“Once you have produced them, you want to say, ‘Okay, let’s stay together and win together.’ Somewhere along the line they need to give back to the club what the club has given to them,” the long-serving manager added.
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