Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that securing a contract extension for forward Theo Walcott could prove to be a lengthy process, BBC Sport has reported.
The 25-year-old’s current deal runs out at the end of next season, but Arsenal are keen to begin negotiations over an extension in the coming weeks. Walcott has been at the club since January 2006, when he signed from Southampton at the age of 16.
It took him a few seasons to establish himself as a first-team regular, but Walcott has been a key player in recent years. However, he is still working his way back from a serious ligament injury suffered in January 2014, and was on the bench for Monday’s 2-1 FA Cup success over Manchester United.
There is also serious competition for places at the Emirates Stadium, and Wenger has revealed that when Walcott signed his last contract extension back in 2013, he was difficult to convince, so the Frenchman fears it could be a similar story this time around.
“We have started very early with him,” he said. “He is very quick on the pitch, but off the pitch not always. Walcott was difficult to convince (in 2013) and that is why it took us much time.
“I always wanted to keep him and I still want to keep him now. I want him to stay and be a regular player and fight for his place, but no matter where you go if it is a big club you have to compete for your place.”
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