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Wenger frets over Walcott future

18 September 2012 16:46

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed concern over his club's stagnant contract talks with winger Theo Walcott.

The England international received a mixed reception from Arsenal fans when he came onto the field during the Gunners' 6-1 win over Southampton.

This came after speculation had mounted during the final weeks of the transfer window that Walcott had rejected a new contract offer from the Emirates Stadium outfit.

With the 23-year-old entering the final year of his current deal, Wenger did little to calm fears he may be the latest big name to depart the club.

Wenger told The Guardian: "At the moment, I still hope to extend his contract so, at the moment, it doesn't affect me.

"Of course at some stage … if, in April, it's not done, you can think it will be difficult to do."

Wenger also responded to the groans around the Emirates expressed at Walcott's introduction on Saturday.

"It is a worry. You want your players to be supported, no matter what kind of contractual situation they are in. I hope it will not affect him and that it will not affect our fans," Wenger said.

"Theo has gone through a lot at 23 years of age. A lot of positives, a lot of negatives and he's level-headed."

The Arsenal manager has left Walcott on the bench in each of the club's first four league games this season and looks set to repeat the selection for the Gunners' opening Champions League tie against Montpellier.

Wenger serves the first of a three-match touchline ban on Tuesday following an outburst at officials during the club's quarter-final defeat to Milan last season and admits it is a problem.

"It (the ban) is a nightmare," he said.

"Honestly, many people in UEFA, even (Michel) Platini, said that we should still let people work, even if they are suspended. It's part of the job and therefore a restriction of work.

"But I don't make a fuss of it. They love to suspend me. How should they punish people? Financially? But they do both. They punish you financially and they ban you."

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
2 35 +41 75
3 33 +54 71
4 35 +21 70
5 35 +23 69
6 35 +2 63

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