Backpage Roundup: Walcott Deal Close, Arsenal Target Put Up for Sale, Szczesny Vows Never to Leave, Hartson’s Advice for Ramsey and More

Walcott Deal Close

Theo Walcott is reportedly very close to penning a contract extension with Arsenal and the deal could be finalised in the next few days.

The 23-year-old winger’s representatives and the club officials have been negotiating for several months but despite things looking bleak on multiple occasions, it seems that a compromise has finally been reached.  The paperwork hasn’t been completed yet but it is believed that that is only a formality since a verbal agreement has been struck. The club is expected to make an announcement in this regard by the end of the week.

Walcott, who was originally seeking a £100,000 per week deal, purportedly dropped his wage demands to £90,000 per week and that smoothed the matters.

The former Southampton man has been extremely productive so far this season and already has 14 goals and 10 assists in just 20 matches. His significantly improved performances are a major reason why the Gunners are giving him a pay rise of £30,000.

 

Rennes to Listen to Offers for M’Vila

Rumoured Arsenal target Yann M’Vila is looking to leave his current club Rennes this month, the Ligue 1 outfit’s general manager Pierre Dreossi has confirmed.

The 22-year-old midfielder is being tracked by the Gunners, their North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg, and Dreossi says Rennes are willing to listen to offers for him, provided that their financial demands are met.

In a radio interview with RMC, Dreossi said: “It’s possible [he'll leave] if we get some interesting offers. He wants to leave, but if it doesn’t happen, it will be next summer. It’s no catastrophe. He missed out on a transfer last summer. If there’s an interesting opportunity for everyone, we’ll find a solution. It is all moving towards England or Russia.”

The club have received offers. I want to go but the deal has to be right for everyone. If it isn’t, I will stay until the end of the season,” M’Vila added.

Gunner Goalie Also a Gooner

Wojciech Szczesny has revealed that he cares so much about Arsenal FC that he now feels like a fan of the club.

The 22-year-old Pole also said that he owes too much to the London club for shaping his career and therefore, has no intention of leaving them for someone else.

In an interview with Arsenal Player, Szczesny said: “Ever since I signed for this club, I’ve become an Arsenal fan. It feels like it’s more than just me playing and doing my best on a Saturday afternoon. I feel like I have a much bigger part to play at this club. It means that little bit more to me. I don’t think about playing for any other club. I see my future at Arsenal Football Club.

“I committed to coming here at the age of 16, not to then leave at the age of 24. That’s not how it works for me. I think coming over to England at the age of 16 was the most important decision of my life and probably the best one, to date.”

 

Manchester City Fans Return Tickets for Arsenal Game Due to High Price

A group of Manchester City’s supporters have returned more than 900 tickets of their team’s upcoming clash with Arsenal at Emirates Stadium as a sign of their protest against high prices.

The Gunners had priced the tickets at £62 due to the game’s high-profile status but the cost proved a bit too much for some of the fans of the superrich Premier League champions, who then decided not to attend the fixture.

It’s the most expensive amount I can ever remember paying for a ticket in my life, for a Sunday afternoon game which is live on satellite television. And it’s not as if finding a television to watch the game on is difficult nowadays. Even if the game wasn’t live, to charge £62 to watch it is ridiculous, but to charge that amount when people can see it live on TV is crazy,” the Manchester City Supporters Club’s general secretary Kevin Parker is quoted as saying by The Guardian.

It just shows that football clubs are out of touch with reality. If City supporters are travelling on a supporters’ club coach it will cost £30 per person. That’s £92 before they have even done anything; add in a programme, food, drink and you are looking at £125-£130 per person.

“There are a combination of things at play here. Some people cannot afford the price, especially as it is just after Christmas, and there are some who just refuse to pay £62. This is also the first time in a long while that I remember City fans saying to me they could pay the money but are refusing to do so. That is a brave decision to take. Soon, though, fans will vote more strongly with their feet and clubs like Arsenal will have to decide what to do about ticket prices.”

It should be noted that the price of a ticket for the same fixture in 2009 was just £32.50 – almost half of what the fans are being asked to pay now.

 

Hartson Advises Ramsey to Seek Loan Move

Former Arsenal striker John Hartson believes that his countryman Aaron Ramsey doesn’t seem happy at Emirates Stadium and should leave the Gunners on loan to revive his career.

The 22-year-old midfielder has played 25 first-team games for Arsenal so far this season but rarely gets to play full 90 minutes and is often taken off in the second half of matches. Hartson believes that the lack of game time is impeding Ramsey’s development and therefore, he should seek a short-term switch to build up his confidence.

While talking to BBC, Hartson said: “I just think he [Ramsey] needs that run of games. Maybe if he did go out on loan [he'd get that], because he doesn’t seem to start many games at Arsenal now and when he does start he’s brought off and he doesn’t look happy. I’m sure Arsene Wenger knows he’s a top-drawer player, because he wouldn’t have given him a new deal otherwise.”