The 23-year-old has less than a year left on his current contract at the North Londoners and has demanded a minimum of £100,000 a week in wages if he is to remain at the Emirates.
The Gunners are prepared to offer the Englishman a maximum of £75,000, which falls short of the figure Walcott believes he deserves.
However, London rivals Chelsea are more than happy to meet the player’s expectations and are expected to bid for him in January along with Liverpool and Italian champions Juventus.
The pacy winger has also expressed his desire to play as a centre forward – something that he has yet to achieve under Arsene Wenger and, despite being Arsenal’s current top goal scorer on 8 goals in all competitions, he looks unlikely to lead the line for the club.
His 8 goals have come impressively from making just 2 starts in the league so far this year – he has been benched for the majority of the season so far with many speculating that his refusal to sign up has seen him side-lined – Arsene Wenger is surely sick to the back teeth of seeing his best players hold the club to ransom and isn’t prepared to play the same game again.
But, should the Arsenal board fail to meet Walcott’s demands, he will surely be sold in January, before he has the opportunity to sign a lucrative pre-contract deal with another club.
Such a deal would likely prove more advantageous for the player as he could stand to benefit from a bidding war as clubs battle to sign him on a Bosman at the end of the season.
He could also stand to receive a lump sum as a signing-on fee that reflects the fact that his prospective new club would not be required to pay Arsenal a penny for the transfer.
Chelsea are, along with the usual suspects, the front-runners to land the signing and Arsenal will likely have another round of explaining to do to their faithful supporters as to why they had to let him go to a rival just as he reaches the peak of his powers.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald