Theo Walcott's future at Arsenal in 'serious' doubt

Theo Walcott's future has been plunged into deeper uncertainty after he was excluded from a contract renewal drive.

And the Gunners are preparing to offload the forward in January if a resolution to his contract dispute cannot be found.

Arsenal chiefs have started a concentrated effort to sign a number of their first-team stars to new deals. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Emmanuel Frimpong are all in line for improved contracts, having held recent talks with the club.

But another round of formal talks over fresh terms for Walcott have not begun - casting a huge shadow over his future in north London.

Walcott, whose contract expires at the end of the season, rejected a five-year deal worth £75,000-per-week in August.

And the club were preparing to sell the England international before the summer transfer deadline, before a training ground summit between manager Arsene Wenger and Walcott ended with the forward committing his short-term future to the club.

Walcott told Wenger he wanted to stay at the Emirates Stadium, but was not prepared to sign the contract offered to him - wanting a pay deal worth closer to £100,000-per-week.

However, it is understood Arsenal chiefs are unwilling to stretch any further, with discussions now at deadlock.
Wenger is still hopeful of tying Walcott down to a new deal, but is in agreement the club should not increase their offer.

But the club are ready to sell Walcott in January to ensure they do not lose him for nothing next summer if he does not sign.

The Gunners manager already feels he has a ready-made replacement for Walcott in highly-rated youngster Serge Gnarby, while he is also interested in Crystal Palace teenager Wilfried Zaha.

Walcott is wanted by Liverpool and Chelsea, while Juventus - who could sign the ex-Southampton man on a pre-contract at the start of next year - are also interested.