Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott | Arsenal & England Wonderkid

Arsene Wenger reacts to Theo Walcott transfer talk

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed his intention to keep hold of Theo Walcott despite the ongoing link with Southampton. The England international has yet to make a Premier League start this campaign, and he has been widely tipped to join a new club in order to enhance his chances of making a Three Lions comeback ahead of next summer's World Cup.

Speaking ahead of the FA Cup game versus Nottingham Forest, Wenger reaffirmed his desire to keep Walcott despite the transfer interest from former side Southampton, he said: "I want him to stay. I heard about that [Southampton]. Yes. I have heard about that but personally I want him to stay."

Walcott lost his starting position during the backend of the previous campaign after Wenger opting to switch to a 3-4-2-1 formation. Since then, the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi, and Danny Welbeck have been utilised in the first XI, whilst the 28-year-old has had to contend with a bench role.

The former Saints graduate has remained tight-lipped about his future in recent weeks, but the Gunners could be tempted to sell this month with the attacker approaching the final year of his contract. Arsenal are facing the prospect of making a huge loss, should Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez leave on a Bosman in the summer, and they will be keen to avoid a similar instance with Walcott by selling him in advance.

Meanwhile, the Gunners boss confirmed the arrival of new signing Konstantinos Mavropanos, although he admitted that he could be loaned out to a German outfit for the campaign, he added: "He's with us. The plan is he goes out on loan to play somewhere. It can be a German club. He is 20-years-old so for a central defender he is not ready to start with us, so it's important he gets experience."