Vermaelen wants Arsenal to keep Walcott

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen has called on the club's board to do everything in their power to keep England star Theo Walcott.

Walcott's future with the north London club is uncertain after several months of contract talks with the Gunners' hierarchy failed to produce a satisfactory offer for the 23-year-old, whose current deal expires at the end of the season.

Walcott underlined his value to club manager Arsene Wenger at Reading on Monday when he was deployed in his preferred central striker's role and scored the final goal in a 5-2 win.

Having seen Robin van Persie leave for Manchester United earlier this year and Samir Nasri join Manchester City last season in similar situations, Vermaelen is keen to avoid Walcott becoming the latest big-name exit.

"Of course we want him to stay, but that is something that is going on between the player and the club," Vermaelen said.

"I don't know what is going on behind the scenes - we don't talk about it, because that is going on in football all the time.

"It happened last time with Robin 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 could stay this year."

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