Arsenal forward Theo Walcott is expected to stay at the club this summer despite reports linking him with a move away from Emirates Stadium, Goal understands.
Walcott is the current longest serving player at the club having joined as a 16-year-old from Southampton in January 2006 and has captained Arsene Wenger’s side on several occasions over the past few seasons.
The England international scored 19 goals last season — a rate of one every two games — but has failed to reach the lofty heights that he was expected to hit when he made his debut in August 2006.
Walcott, who is keeping in shape with a personal trainer ahead of next season, has previously come in for criticism due to inconsistent performances and is one of the players linked with a move away this summer amid increased interest in Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe and Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette.
Wenger believes that Walcott is a key member of his first-team squad and his contributions last campaign will, in his eyes, justify his decision to keep hold of the versatile winger.
“Theo has improved his defensive commitment a lot compared to what it was before," Wenger said at the tail end of last season.
"He was sometimes a bit less focused on the teamwork. He shows huge commitment on a daily basis. I give a little bit of priority to the guys who know the Arsenal values, those who have been here for a long time.
"For me, loyalty plays a part when it comes to representing a club – and Theo has been very loyal."
Walcott is one of the highest-paid players at the club after signing a bumper contract in the summer of 2015 and with two years remaining on his current deal, it would take a mammoth bid in excess of £30m for Arsenal to even consider letting him go.