Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned Theo Walcott that he will be "replaced with another big name" unless he signs a new contract with the club in the next six weeks.
Wenger has issued his broadest hint yet that Walcott may be leaving Arsenal in the January transfer window, after he confirmed there has been 'no progress' on contract talks with the England winger's representatives.
"It's always important to keep your best players but if it should happen that Theo goes, we'll replace him with someone, another big name or make another big name," Wenger stated.
"I have discussions every day with Theo Walcott, but not every day about his contract , I let his his agents do that. We are trying to get further but, at the moment, nothing else has happened."
Wenger went on to insist he was as frustrated as the Arsenal fans by the constant departure of star names from his squad, before urging the club's supporters to stand behind the team after a turbulent few weeks.
"What affects me is that our fans are not happy," Wenger admitted. "It doesn't stop me from doing what I do on the football pitch, but if you ask me, my biggest desire is to see our fans happy.
"I believe that our fans will stay behind us without any problem, but if they are not, you have to be able to deal with that. If you want to be a top-level professional you have to understand the crowd wants you to win and you have to deal with the fact that they're not always happy. That's where you see the personality and the sense of responsibility of the player.
"It's not that the supporters are against you as an individual. They want you to win the game and you represent the guy who can make them happy, so that's part of it, but we have finished every year in a good position and the fans remember that.
"You think I don't get frustrated when big players leave? I want them to stay as well, obviously. Hopefully we can find an agreement with Theo."
Meanwhile Wenger has insisted that his target for this season does not evolve around ending his trophy drought or beating Tottenham in Saturday's North London derby, as he has his eyes trained on a 16th consecutive season of Champions League football.
"The target is to finish in the top four," he concludes. "Beating Tottenham is important as it will have an emotional impact, but the target of the season is not to finish above Tottenham. That is never our only ambition."