Theo Walcott contract talks to continue into the New Year

Arsene Wenger has not given up hope of Theo Walcott signing a new deal with Arsenal with talks set to continue into the New Year.

Walcott’s contract with the Gunners expires at the end of the season and just a matter of days ago he looked to be heading towards the exit door after talks with the club over a new contract broke down.

It has been reported that Arsenal have offered to pay the England international £75,000 per week but one of the stumbling blocks is his desire to play up from on a regular basis.

He proved how effective he could be as a main striker when scoring in the 2-5 win over Reading at the Madejski on Monday night and afterwards Wenger reiterated his desire to keep the 23-year-old.

“It is not my decision, it is Theo’s decision as well – if it is [only] my decision, it is quickly done,” he said. “Theo has been educated at Southampton and Arsenal, where he has become a top level player here.

“I hope that when he considers his future he will think this is the best place for him and sign for us. I will just say our desire and will is clear, and Theo knows that. Hopefully we can get to a happy end with it.”

Chelsea, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs are reported to be keeping an eye on developments at the Emirates and there is every chance Walcott could be on his way out of Arsenal in January.

However, he insists he is no closer to knowing where he will be next year.

“Talks are ongoing. It’s going to be a slow process,” Walcott told Sky Sports. “It’s taking a long time but hopefully something will happen soon.

“I enjoy playing up front, it’s about getting more opportunities and today the boss gave me an opportunity.

“I thought I played well – but it’s also about the boys behind me, Jack [Wilshere] and the others make my job so much easier.”