Arsene Wenger saw his contract rebel Theo Walcott score another excellent hat-trick yesterday to see off Newcastle, so it was little surprise that the onlooking media made him the chief subject of the post-match conference.
The Arsenal manager said: “He has done very well and it just typifies what I think he can do. He can play through the middle, I am convinced of that, and he can only get stronger in there. Overall I am pleased with his performance.
“Yes, determination and running into the box, dribbling, short dribbling. I believe he is a good finisher, that he has learned a lot because he is an intelligent player. And because he is intelligent, he will continue to improve.
But of course the contract situation just had to be raised, and Wnger firlded them with his usual style: “You know, the intensity of my desire to extend his contract is exactly the same as it was before the game. My desire is to extend his contract, he belongs here and hopefully we can do it.”
Wenger was then asked if Walcott scoring a hat-trick (again) would have any influence on the talks? “I don’t know, I think the commitment for a club is a long-term process. I don’t think it should depend on one game. Should he have had a disastrous game today, it would not have altered my determination to extend his contract and to sign him. That does not depend on one game.”
“I do not want to talk about the contract negotiations, it is enough in the public place. I believe there is no need to talk about it. Yes I understand WHY people want to talk about it because he was man of the match today and he made the decision. But I would like to talk more about his footballing qualities than about money and speculation.
“I think he loves the club and the club loves him, and the reciprocity in love is the most difficult to find.”
No-one could possibly knock the quality of Walcott’s treble, and surely now Arsenal must do their utmost to find a solutionto extending his contract as quick as possible. After the match Walcott said: ” i just want to continue playing my football. I am sure something will be arranged soon…..”
Does that sound like a player that wants to leave?