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Arsenal considering Lewis Holtby as a replacement for Theo

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Arsenal are lining up Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby as a possible replacement for Theo Walcott, should the young England winger choose not to extend his contract with the Gunners reports the Daily Mirror. Walcott, who like club skipper Robin van Persie is in the final year of his contract, could well follow in the Dutchman's footsteps in rejecting a new deal with Arsenal. With Walcott's excessive wage demands of £100,000 per week proving to be a stumbling block, Arsenal could well be forced to sell the 23 year old winger.

Liverpool and Chelsea are reportedly interested in signing the pacey Englishman, and if Arsenal do sell him, they are looking at Lewis Holtby as an option. The 21 year old Holtby is a similar player to Walcott, and also has a similar contract situation with his club Schalke.

"I have always said that my aim is to come to the Premier League one day because I love the league," Holtby told talkSPORT a few weeks back. "My father is English and of course my favourite teams are Everton and Arsenal. It would be a massive move [to Arsenal] because Arsenal players were always my favourite. They play nice one-touch football, they're offensive, have young players, a great stadium and a great city so it is a nice club. My thoughts now are first with Schalke but you never know." He also added that he was happy at Schalke, and he would give his best if the manager decided that he would be a first team player.

The other issue with retaining Theo Walcott is that the Englishman has always maintained that he would prefer to feature in a central striking role rather than being deployed as a winger, and given his lack of consistency, it is not a position that Wenger appears ready to trust the forward in. Walcott though may well see an opportunity to play more centrally arise should Van Persie leave the club, and that gives him an added incentive to stay on, given Chelsea and Liverpool are also probably more inclined to use him on the wing.

As things stand though it is good to see Arsenal having a back-up option in place should Walcott's contract situation not workout, but in an ideal world, the Gunners fans would no doubt pick Walcott over Holtby any day of the week.