Arsenal winger Theo Walcott may be on his way to Russia in a shocking mid-season transfer coup for Spartak Moscow.
The 23 year old Southampton youth product will be out of contract next summer and Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger is desperate to get his star to re-sign for the long term. The club's recent contract gaffes have cost them two absolutely critical players in Dutch striker Robin van Persie and Cameroon midfielder Alex Song. In addition, the general effect on player's morale - as a result of allowing key first team members' contracts to run down into the final season or two - has been poor, to say the least.
French defender Bacary Sagna has already hit out at the club's transfer policies and admitted he too was yet to receive a contract offer... the 29 year old has less than two years left on his contract and his situation should already be sending alarm bells through the Emirates.
As far as the Walcott situation is concerned, there have been no definitive announcements from either side but reports suggest an agreement is not in sight, despite the club's insistence the player will sign. The Metro reported earlier the player was looking for £100,000 per week and trophy bonuses, while the club would only consider £75,000 per week and the chance, occassionally, to play as a central striker.
The delay has led to a revival of interest in the player's services, with Italian clubs Inter Milan and Juventus circling. Russian outfit Spartak Moscow have also been credited with an interest and the Metro reports the club's Spanish manager, Unai Emery, is working hard to convince his club's owners to move for the England international, as early as January.
Will Walcott want to move to Russia? It is an unlikely scenario. However, given the growing profile of the Russian league, as evinced by the signing of Hulk and Alex Witsel by Zenit St Petersburg - two players in the prime of their careers rather than those in the twilight looking for one last big payday - it may be an interesting proposition for the speedy winger. However, should he decide not to move so far afield, there will be no shortage of clubs vying for his services, with Liverpool and Chelsea also linked to the player.