Arsenal open contract negotiations with returning Walcott

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Arsenal have opened talks with England international Theo Walcott over a contract extension at the Emirates Stadium.

The 25-year-old returned from a 10-month absence through injury in the Gunners’ 3-0 win over Burnley and Arsene Wenger is ready to tie him down to a long-term deal beyond his current deal which expires in 2016.

“We are starting to sit down with him,” said Wenger.

“I think he has one and a half years to go on his contract in December and it is never an easy job with him, you know.”

Arsenal worked hard to get Walcott, who has made 195 appearances for the north London club, to sign his current £90,000-a-week four-year deal back in January 2013 and the club want to avoid a similar scenario this time around.

Negotiations have already begun between he two parties and Arsenal are ready to offer the former Southampton star parity with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in the club’s top pay bracket as they look to profit from what should be the peak of his career.

“Will he be at his peak in the next few years? He should be, yes,” added the Arsenal boss.

“He is 25. It is the best years now so hopefully we can profit from that.”

Walcott could be in line to make his first start for Arsenal since January against Anderlecht in the Champions League and the England star is 9/2 to make an immediate impact by scoring the first goal of the game with Ladbrokes.

He is 23/20 to score at anytime or it’s 6/4 the forward scores in an Arsenal win and they both look decent bets with Arsenal expected to be on the front foot against their Belgian rivals.

The bookmaker is offering odds of 11/2 for Walcott’s name to be on the scoresheet on two or more occasions or it is 25/1 he completes the perfect comeback with a hat-trick.

But if it’s just another cameo role for Walcott off the substitutes bench then it’s 9/2 he goes one better than Saturday and scores the last goal of the game.

While Ladbrokes customers will be hoping for an immediate return from Walcott, Arsenal fans will be hoping chants of ‘Theo Theo Theo’ ring round the Emirates tonight and for a long time to come.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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