Arsene Wenger wants Theo Walcott’s future at Arsenal sorted before Christmas.
The England international’s contract is set to run out at the end of the season and Wenger has demanded a solution to the long-running saga.
The 23-year-old has been in turmoil recently, with his position in the team under threat with the arrivals of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, as well as the re-emergence of Gervinho as a first-team regular.
Walcott wants an opportunity in the centre of the team’s attack – something promised to him by Wenger – but he has not yet received that chance and is free to talk to other teams in January if circumstances do not change.
“There is urgency (in resolving his future). I want it resolved by Christmas,” Wenger said.
“He loves to score goals, he has good pace and makes intelligent runs. He is a good finisher.”
Arsenal face a tough task this weekend with a trip to Old Trafford after their sensational 7-5 win over Reading in the Capital One Cup.
Key players Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs, Abou Diaby and Gervinho will be absent, while Wenger said there would be norepeat of the last season’s 8-2 win for Manchester United.
“For the belief of the team it is vital we do well on Saturday,” Wenger said.
“Last year’s result was down to special circumstances. We have had it behind us for a long time.
“Reading was an irrational game. It concerns me a little bit. When you are 4-0 down after 36 minutes you cannot say it is alright.
“Some of the players still have heavy legs. (There will be) no Wojciech (Szczesny), no Gibbs, no Diaby as well. Gervinho is out for three weeks.
“I will see how (Walcott) recovers, I don’t know if he will play.”
Wenger also spoke on former Arsenal man Robin van Persie, who made the switch to Old Trafford in the summer, with the Gunners manager hoping fans give him a ‘respectful’ reception.
“Saturday is not about him (for us),” Wenger said.
“It is about getting a result. I am not surprised he has been a success (for Manchester United), he makes intelligent runs.
“I hope he gets a respectful (reception). We campaign against discrimination, it should not be different this week.”
Wenger also spoke on Jack Wilshere following his return to first-team action at the weekend against QPR, saying the midfielder can cope with the pressure on his shoulders.
“(Wilshere) can cope with expectations. I just would like him to enjoy playing football.”