Despite talk of an exit, the versatile winger remains a key part of Arsene Wenger’s plans and will not be allowed to leave short of a mammoth bid

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.

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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.

Theo Walcott Arsenal

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.

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.