According to the latest reports by the Daily Mirror, Arsenal are to offer striker Theo Walcott a new five-year contract.
The England international’s current deal in North London expires in the summer of 2016 and the Gunners appear uneasy at allowing him to drift into his final year with his future unclear.
Without knowing the exact details of Walcott’s terms, it appears a contract extension could result in a handsome pay rise, as the report speculates at a possible weekly wage well into six figures.
“Arsenal are to offer Theo Walcott a new deal that will keep him at the Emirates for the next five years. The offer is likely to take Walcott into the top earnings bracket at Arsenal – well into six figures a week,” the report states.
Are Arsenal doing the right thing by preparing a contract offer for Walcott now?
The 25-year-old spent the majority of 2014 recovering from a knee ligament injury sustained during the 2-0 FA Cup victory over North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in January.
Despite brief substitute appearances followed by his first start in almost 11 months last November, Walcott soon aggravated his groin and spent yet more time on the sidelines.
He has now returned to the first-team picture, but without full match fitness it’s still too early to say if his long-term layoff has had any lasting effect on his ability and, arguably more importantly, his turn of pace.
The Gunners face a bit of a dilemma, because while they wouldn’t want the former Southampton youth product to enter the last year of his contract, can they be assured that Walcott will return to top form?
Long-term injuries have gone on to affect a number of top players – no more so than former Liverpool and Chelsea forward Fernando Torres.
With the extension said to place Walcott among the club’s highest earners, unless he’s a regular in the first-team, his new contract could set a bad precedent among teammates vying for a similar position in the Gunners attack.