The 23-year-old is in the final year of his current contract and has yet to commit his future to the Gunners. Rumours abounded in the final week of the transfer window at the end of last month which suggested Walcott could be sold if he refused to sign a new deal worth £75,000 a week and the 23-year-old can begin pre-contract talks with overseas clubs from 1 January.
Wenger is keen to get the issue sorted sooner rather than later but he has admitted that after a lukewarm reception for Walcott when he came on as a substitute during Arsenal’s 6-1 victory over Southampton on Saturday the fan’s reception sometimes affects his thinking when it comes to team selection . Walcott hasn’t started a game for the Gunners this season.
“At the moment I still hope to extend his contract so at the moment, it doesn’t affect me,” Wenger said.
“Of course at some stage – if, in April, if it’s not done – you can think it will be difficult to do.
“Is the fans’ reaction a worry? It is. I think you want your players to be supported no matter what kind if contractual situation they are in. I hope it will not affect him and that it will not affect our fans.
“He has gone through, at 23 years of age, a lot, Theo, you know. A lot of positives, a lot of negatives and he’s level-headed. We are lucky: I don’t know what they do at Southampton but they bring players out, Chamberlain and him, with their feet on the ground.”
Walcott is believed to be holding out for a deal worth £100,000 a week which would be put him on a par with some of his international team-mates in the England set-up.