The England international is out of contract next summer and has yet to put pen to paper despite the club having offered a pay rise to £75,000 a week. Rumours began to circulate just before transfer deadline-day at the end of August that Arsenal were ready to sell Walcott if he refused to sign the contract although clear-the-air talks averted that possibility.
However, Walcott has not featured as a regular starter so far this season and although he scored against his former club Southampton last weekend, he got a muted welcome from the Arsenal fans when he came off the bench.
“I haven’t picked him, it’s true, and it’s quite a good question,” said Wenger. “I still hope to sign him and the next two months will be vital because, after that, the longer this situation lasts the more difficult it is.
“Let’s hope we can find a solution in the next two months but the fact he doesn’t play regularly at the moment is right, but it’s not necessarily linked with his contract situation.”
When pressed further on the possibility of Walcott being sold during the January transfer window, Wenger didn’t exactly rule out the idea.
“It will depend on the needs of the team and the club. We can afford to go to the end if needed.
“No player is happy when he doesn’t play.
“At the moment, Koscielny doesn’t play. He’s just extended his contract and still doesn’t play because the defence is doing well.
“That’s only temporary because by the end of the season they will all play.”
Speculation has already been rife about where Walcott could end up should he fail to sign a new deal. Liverpool were linked towards the end of the summer transfer window while Chelseawere also linked during the summer. Both are still said to be keen while, almost inevitably,Manchester City are also being linked with interest. City and Chelsea may offer Walcott a hefty pay rise – towards the £100,000 a week he is said to be looking for – should he decide to see out his contract with Arsenal, while Serie A side Juventus are also interested. Walcott can enter pre-contract negotiations with overseas clubs from 1 January.