Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insists he never contemplated selling forward Theo Walcott in the summer despite an underwhelming year which appeared to suggest the clock was ticking on his Gunners career.
Walcott has undergone something of a renaissance this term and notched his fifth Premier League goal of the season with two strikes against Swansea on Saturday, which matched his tally for the whole of the previous campaign.
“I haven’t spoken to anybody because I was not ready to let him go. I always wanted to keep him,” said Wenger. “What I have seen of him this season is that he lets the passion for the game come out of his body.
“He plays with more freedom and more desire. He has a less restricted attitude and that shows you that he is a completely different player.”
Group A leaders Arsenal host Ludogorets Razgrad at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday in the first of a Champions League double header against the Bulgarian champions, and Wenger is taking nothing for granted.
“We play three homes this week and in every single game we are maybe the favourites,” added Wenger. “But we have learned that, if you ease off a little, you are in trouble, because the difference between the teams is very small.
“Ludogorets have more Champions League experience now and I watched them against Paris Saint-Germain [3-1 victory for the French champions] and they are a very good side.”