Wenger wants resolution to Walcott contract standoff

Arsene Wenger hopes to bring the impasse between Arsenal and Theo Walcott to a positive conclusion after the England forward helped the Gunners to a resounding victory over Premier League strugglers Reading, the BBC has reported.

Walcott was chosen as the central player in Arsenal’s front three, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right wing and Lukas Podolski on the left, and played his part in the team’s 5-2 win over the Royals at the Madejski Stadium. Walcott scored the fifth and final goal of the game, while Podolski was also on the score sheet. Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla scored a hat-trick.

Arsenal and Walcott have not yet agreed terms on a new contract despite Walcott’s existing deal expiring next summer and the spectre of interested parties such as Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City closely watching negotiations. Arsenal are said to be willing to raise Walcott’s wage to £75,000 per week, but Walcott is understood to be holding out for a guarantee of playing as a centre-forward more often, rather than on the right wing.

Wenger said: “It is not my decision – it is Theo’s decision as well. If it is my decision it is quickly done. I hope that when he considers his future he will consider Arsenal is the best place for him and sign for us.

I do not want to come out on details of Walcott’s contract but simply say our desire and will is clear and he knows that. Hopefully we can get to a happy ending.

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