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Vermaelen: We want Walcott to stay

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen has weighed in on the ongoing contract dispute that could see leading scorer Theo Walcott leave the club in January.

Walcott was on the scoresheet once again in Monday's 5-2 win at Reading and now Vermaelen has hinted that he wants the club's officials to tie the wannabe striker down to a new long-term deal before it is too late.

"Of course we want him to stay, but that's something going on between the player and the club," he is quoted in several newspapers. "I don't know what is going on behind the scenes because we don't talk about it. That is going on in football all the time.

"It happened last time with Robin [van Persie] in the summer. It's the job of the board and the club what they are going to do with it so we can't do anything about it. Theo has been invaluable for us when he played this year. He is dangerous for us, can stretch a team with his pace and I hope he can stay."

Meanwhile, Vermaelen claims Arsenal have "a lot to prove" going as they look to rebuild their stumbling season amid a hectic Christmas fixture list, with the shock waves from their humiliating Capital One Cup defeat at the hands of Bradford last week still rumbling.

"A lot of people questioned us and maybe that's normal," he told the Arsenal website. "If you play for a team like Arsenal, there are always going to be people outside who are going to question the manager and the team.

"The thing is, you have to stay united and work hard on the training pitch because we are the only ones who know what's going on in the team. What people say outside is just part of the job.

"We were all disappointed because of course you want to win a game like the one at Bradford, but the thing is we were focused straight away again and we know in England we have so many games that we can make it up again straight away. You can't stand still too long with a defeat like that, you just learn from it and move on."


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