Arsene Wenger believes that Theo Walcott should stay at Arsenal and sign a new contract because Arsenal took a huge risk of signing him when he was a teenager.
Walcott was 16 years old when he joined Arsenal and he now wants the winger to show some loyalty to his club instead of leaving it for free at the end of the season.
Arsenal has been trying to persuade Walcott to sign a new contract instead of leaving it as a free agent now. Walcott wants £100,000 a week which would be a very salary adding him to the list of the highest earning players at the club.
“What is important to keep the young players together is that at some stage I have stood up for them; I played you at 17, 18, 19 years of age and I know I took a gamble,” said Wenger, as quoted on Sky Sports.
“It is easier to take a player of 25 and put him in the team. You know what you are getting. If you put them in at 17 or 18, you have to stand up for them. You 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.
“When a guy gets to 30, you can understand it is his last contract and if he feels he wants a change. This is a more sensitive age, but basically, it is a reward for our policy.”
Wenger has made it clear that Walcott could be gifted with a significant pay rise due to his form – which of course would be lesser than his demand.
“I am happy to pay Theo the money he deserves, but I feel as well that I bought him at 16 years of age and spent a lot of money on him,” he added.
“I am a big supporter and I believe he is happy here. Theo has always looked to me like he is an Arsenal man.”