Walcott signs new long-term Arsenal contract

By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal with the option of a 12-month extension, Goal.com understands.

Under the new agreement that runs at least until the summer of 2016, the England international’s salary will climb to around £90,000 a week, which will be bolstered by top-up bonuses and a multi-million pound signing-on fee.

Last week, Goal.com exclusively revealed Walcott had held a final round of talks with boss Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis at the club’s London Colney training base, during which the main details were agreed.

Now it appears the 23-year-old has put pen to paper on a deal which will see his wages rise by at least £30,000-a-week, putting him on par with Arsenal’s top earners.

Walcott has publicly indicated his desire to remain with the Gunners on numerous occasions, where he is popular with fans, staff and his team-mates.

A major stumbling block in talks had been the player’s desire to be given the chance to ply his trade as a central striker in the wake of Robin van Persie’s departure, but Wenger has granted his wish in recent weeks.

The Frenchman can now concentrate on improving his squad. Atletico Madrid striker Adrian and Wilfried Zaha are both likely targets, but Wenger has also this week admitted his interest in Napoli striker Edinson Cavani.

Securing Walcott’s future will be a huge boost to Arsenal after tying fellow Brits Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson to new five-year deals shortly before Christmas.

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Tottenham eye M'Vila swoop following Sandro injury blow

EXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart

Tottenham are considering a move for Rennes star Yann M’Vila as a replacement for Sandro after the club confirmed the Brazilian will miss the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.

West Ham enforcer Mohamed Diame is also being considered by the north London club as manager Andre Villas-Boas targets a defensive midfielder to replace Sandro and boost his side’s top four ambitions.

Spurs are long-term admirers of M’Vila and made contact last summer with Rennes over a potential deal for the France international, who has been the subject of a £6.2 million bid from relegation-threatened QPR.

Rennes are keen to sell the 22-year-old this month and Tottenham could swoop in to snatch M’Vila from QPR’s grasp, with the player reluctant to move to Loftus Road having previously been courted by some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

Fulham and Rubin Kazan are also tracking M’Vila’s situation and reports in France have suggested that the Russian club are close to an agreement after holding talks with Rennes and the player’s representatives on Thursday.

Interest is high in the Frenchman despite a rocky six months months in which the French Football Federation handed him an international ban until June 2014 after he spent an unauthorised night out with fellow under-21 players.

Harry Redknapp’s QPR were considered favourites to land M’Vila earlier this week, but Rennes General Manager Pierre Dreossi stated that: “QPR’s offers are not sufficient,” leaving the door open for other interested parties.

Diame is also considered a potential option by Spurs as the Senegalese midfielder has a £3.5m release clause in his Hammers contract and is yet to sign a fresh deal on improved terms to stay at Upton Park.

In the meantime, Jake Livermore’s proposed loan switch to QPR remains on hold as the Champions League hopefuls deal with the blow of losing Sandro for the rest of the season.

Spurs confirmed on Friday that the 23-year-old will miss the rest of the campaign after undergoing surgery this week on his right knee, having sustained cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus damage during last weekend’s goalless draw at QPR.

Goal.com confirmed this week that Tottenham are also attempting to accelerate Lewis Holtby’s move to White Hart Lane and are in talks with Schalke to bring the playmaker to the club this month.

Holtby has already signed a pre-contract agreement with Spurs but could join in the January window in a £1.6m deal as chairman Daniel Levy prepares to concede defeat in his pursuit of Porto star Joao Moutinho.

Walcott signs new Arsenal contract

By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal with the option of a 12-month extension, Goal.com understands.

Under the new agreement that runs at least until the summer of 2016, the England international’s salary will climb to around £90,000-a-week, which will be bolstered by top-up bonuses and a multi-million pound signing-on fee.

Last week Goal.com exclusively revealed Walcott had held a final round of talks with boss Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis at the club’s London Colney training base, during which the main details were agreed.

Now it appears the 23-year-old has put pen to paper on a deal which will see his wages rise by at least £30,000-a-week, putting him on par with Arsenal’s top earners.

Walcott has publicly indicated his desire to remain with the Gunners on numerous occasions, where he is popular with fans, staff and his team-mates.

A major stumbling block in talks had been the player’s desire to be given the chance to ply his trade as a central striker in the wake of Robin van Persie’s departure, but Wenger has granted his wish in recent weeks.

The Frenchman can now concentrate on improving his squad. Atletico Madrid striker Adrian and Wilfried Zaha are both likely targets, but Wenger has also this week admitted his interest in Napoli striker Edinson Cavani.

Securing Walcott’s future will be a huge boost to Arsenal after tying fellow Brits Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson to new five-year deals shortly before Christmas.

Napoli president rules out sale of Arsenal target Cavani

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has declared Edinson Cavani is not for sale amid interest from Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger declared his interest in the striker on Thursday, describing Cavani as a player he “liked” but admitted the player would “cost a lot of money”.
And now the Napoli president has revealed the club have received a bid for Cavani in the region of €55 million which he has rejected, but stopped short of naming the club.

“For Cavani I have already been offered €55m and I said no,” De Laurentiis told Calcio Mercato. “I need him, not the money.

“I am confident in his ability, he knows that here he is the number one in the city, and I do not think in other places or at other teams, most of us can identify with that city, jersey and fans.”

The 25-year-old has been in prolific form this season, scoring 25 goals in 24 games.

Zubizarreta: Barcelona respect Valdes' decision

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has insisted that the club respect Victor Valdes’ decision not to renew his contract.

The goalkeeper, whose current deal runs until 2014, revealed on Thursday that he will not entertain talks over a new agreement.

Zubizarreta explained that Barca officials did not have a chance to offer their shot-stopper improved terms, and has urged fans to support the 31-year-old’s decision to leave Camp Nou.


“We were holding the first meeting to initiate the process for renewing Víctor’s contract. The meeting began with us expressing the club’s desire to extend his contract, because we consider him to be a top class goalkeeper,” he told Barca TV.

“But before we could make any proposal or discuss anything, his agent said the decision was already made and meditated, and that he will not be staying any later than June 30, 2014. It is an irrevocable decision.

“We must respect the professional decision of a player who has spent 12 years in this home.

“With that in mind, we are asking you to continue supporting him and to encourage him as much as you have done throughout his career. He is committed to this jersey until June 30, 2014 and will defend the goal with everything he has and knows.

“Meanwhile, we shall work together to see what the next steps should be, along with him and his agent, to work together to deal with this situation that arose yesterday [Thursday].”

More to follow….