Wenger: Walcott belongs at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger insists Theo Walcott “belongs” at Arsenal after the England forward’s hat-trick helped his side to a magnificent 7-3 victory over Newcastle.

The 23-year-old has little over six months left on his current contract and with little sign of a resolution imminent, could become the latest high-profile star to flee Emirates Stadium.

But his manager is adamant the former Southampton starlet maintains a deep affection for the club he joined as a 16 year old back in 2006 and is seeking a swift and amicable resolution.

Wenger told reporters: “He belongs here. I want it resolved with the same intensity. I think he loves the club and the club loves him.”

The England international’s treble against the Magpies was kick-started by a superb goal that saw him cut in from the left flank and curl an unstoppable shot past Tim Krul, reminiscent of several strikes scored by Gunners legend Thierry Henry – which the Frenchman also picked up on.

Wenger beamed: “That was a Thierry Henry-type goal.

“He has done very well, it typifies what I think he can do. He can play through the middle, he will only get stronger.

“He is a good finisher, he has learned a lot because he is an intelligent player. He will continue to improve.”

More to follow…

Rose permanent move to Sunderland 'impossible' – Tottenham boss Villas-Boas

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas insists Sunderland will not sign England Under-21 international Danny Rose on a permanent deal.


The 22-year-old has impressed during his loan spell at the Stadium of Light, putting in a string of excellent performances, earning praise from Martin O’Neill and adulation from Black Cats supporters.

However, the Portuguese has also taken note of the youngster’s progress on Wearside and is unwilling to let him join Sunderland on a full transfer when his loan spell comes to an end in May.

He told reporters: “A permanent move is impossible because we have great expectations for the player, he has a bright future. We appreciate what he’s been doing over here and it’s been a great experience.

“He’s been extremely well managed. We can’t give away a player of his quality.”

This news came as a bitter blow to O’Neill, whose Sunderland side were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham on Saturday, as he had hoped to secure a deal for Rose during the January transfer window.

The 60-year-old admitted Villas-Boas’ statement was frustrating but feels a lot can change in football and mooted a high bid might sway Spurs’ decision.

He said: “I’m really disappointed he said that. Lots of things can happen though, if we put in an offer of £38 million I think he would taxi him up here himself. At this moment he’s doing very well and in many aspects it’s helping Tottenham out.

“There weren’t too many takers of Danny when we came in for him and he’s enjoyed it immensely here. There wasn’t a rush for him at that stage but he’s done remarkably well for us. If he does stay now that’s encouraging.

“He thinks he has really good talent and that Danny will stay until the end of the season. That’s encouraging for us and we’ll see what develops after that.”

O’Neill priased the spirit of his side after the defeat to SPurs, but admitted that his players had simply been outclassed.

He added: “We played with a lot of commitment and a lot of heart. We got ourselves in front just before half-time but it was disappointing to concede two goals in two minutes that knocked us back.

“Tottenham had chances to make it three but we kept going until the end and I couldn’t fault the commitment of the team at all.

“We had to fight pretty hard all afternoon. They are a very fine side Tottenham.”

Sneijder: It would be best if I leave Inter in January

Wesley Sneijder thinks that it would be best for all parties involved if he left Inter in the January transfer window.

The Netherlands international refused to take a paycut earlier this year, and has so far failed to reach an agreement with the club over a new contract.

Coach Andrea Stramaccioni opened the door for Sneijder to return to the first team, but the midfielder has now confirmed that the player’s relationship with the club has deteriorated beyond repair.

“Clearly it’s better for everyone if I leave in January,” the former Ajax man told De Telegraaf.

“If that doesn’t happen, then I will stay. I have a contract until the end of June 2015 with Inter.”

Sneijder also confessed that it would be a privilege to wear the Dutch captain’s armband once more, and hopes he can return to the national set-up soon.

“It would be a great honour to wear it again,” he said. “I have kept in contact with [head coach] Louis van Gaal over the last few months.

“I saw several players try to pass the buck after the Euros, leaking stories to the media about tension in the locker room. It seemed like that to me at times, but the atmosphere wasn’t that bad.”

Boxing legend Michalczewski warns Lewandowski: Moving to United would be a mistake

Retired Polish boxing world champion Dariusz Michalczewski has advised Robert Lewandowski against swapping Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United.

The striker has been linked with a future move to the Red Devils, either in January or in the coming summer, but the 44-year-old believes the former Lech Poznan man would make a mistake if he left the German team and his mentor Jurgen Klopp.

“In my eyes it would be a mistake in the summer if Robert moves to Manchester United,” the former light heavyweight champion told Bild.

“With Dortmund he has a really great club, and probably the best coach in the world! In Manchester, Robert would have the huge competition and would have to prove himself again.

“I’m also not sure that England’s Premier League compared to the Bundesliga would really be an improvement!

“He should remain with the good times at Dortmund [for now]. He is very young; he can still go abroad some day.”

Falcao rules out January transfer

Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao has ruled out the possibility of leaving the club in the January transfer window.

The likes of Manchester City and Chelsea are reportedly interested in securing the services of the prolific Colombian attacker, who has netted 17 goals in 16 Liga games so far this season.

However, Falcao made clear that he is only focused on his current team, but did not rule out a scenario in which he leaves the team in the summer of 2013.

“I’ve still got three years left on my contract with Atletico. That’s where I’ll be until the end of the season, after that we’ll see what happens,” the striker told reporters in Dubai.

“I’m only thinking about my club. I know there is a lot of speculation but hopefully it won’t affect me. At this moment my reality is Atletico and I’m happy here.

“There will be another league in the future, but I still have three years left on my contract.

“The club have gone to great lengths to ensure I stay this year so I’m only focused on fulfilling my own and the club’s objectives.”

Falcao then commented on the Liga title race, with Barcelona currently hold a nine-point advantage over second-placed Atleti.

“Barcelona now have a significant advantage and they look unshakable. We know that if they maintain the gap it’s going to be very difficult to fight them for the title.

“We’re improving all the time and hopefully we can continue to pick up points. We’ll see where we are at the end of the season.”