Theo Walcott admits contract talks were a distraction

Arsenal forward finally put pen to paper on a deal last week

Theo Walcott is pleased contract talks with Arsenal are finally over after admitting one of the most protracted sagas in Barclays Premier League history was proving a distraction.

Walcott has agreed a new deal believed to last three and a half years, pushing his wages close to £100,000 and ending speculation that another household name would leave the Emirates Stadium.

The 23-year-old, who led Arsenal's fightback in yesterday's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea with a clinical finish, admits it was difficult to concentrate while his future remained in doubt.

"For the last three games before Chelsea the contract was sort of done, but it was on my mind and had been for a long time because it was so close," Walcott told Arsenal Player.

"It is difficult to play and block out that side of it, but I tried to do the best I could and hopefully everyone was happy with what I did.

"I always wanted to stay and I am happy that myself and the club have come to an agreement.

"There has been so much speculation and I am very pleased my future is sorted. It is all about the present now."

The loss at Stamford Bridge has left Arsenal seven points adrift of the top four and a place in next season's Champions League.

It is a dire situation that has transformed Wednesday's home clash with West Ham into a must-win encounter as they attempt to claw back some of the ground lost on fourth-placed Tottenham.

"There are a lot of teams that have got stronger this year, so we need to step on the gas. We don't want to be playing catch-up. We want to get points on the board," Walcott said.

"We have a tough game at home against West Ham so we need to be ready. It is a massive game, we have home support and we need to start clocking up points there.

"We have been hot and cold at home of late so we must be very positive and if we show the commitment that we did in the second half against Chelsea we should be fine.

"We need to show that character to win from the start, not when we concede a goal."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible