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Theo Walcott yet to receive firm offer from Arsenal

Club and forward understood to be close to reaching agreement
  • @simonrice

Theo Walcott is moving closer to agreeing a new deal with Arsenal, however no firm offer has yet been put forward to the player or his representatives by the club.

Widespread reports suggest the Gunners are preparing a package worth £25m over a five-year period. The new contract would be worth £90,000-a-week with a signing-on fee raising the overall value of the deal.

Arsenal had taken a hardline stance with the England international which led to the forward being omitted from the starting XI for much of the first half of the season, however their position is softening.

Walcott's rich vein of form, which has seen him play in his preferred central striking role and reward Arsene Wenger's faith with ten goals in the last 12 games, is unlikely to have done his bargaining position any harm.

The 23-year-old, who will be out of contract in the summer, is also close to being a free agent and with Arsenal having lost many of their best players over recent years, much to the frustration of fans, the situation also works in Walcott's favour as a deal is thrashed out.

The feeling at the Emirates is that the former Southampton player will agree to a new contract, so much so that the Gunners have cooled their interest in Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

Wenger said recently that securing a new deal for Walcott was more important than bringing in new players, stating: "First of all we have to make sure the players who are here stay here, and after we look outside."

Arsenal will hope the deal can be completed soon so efforts can be concentrated on making additions to a squad that continues to lack quality in depth.

Atletico Madrid frontman Adrian Lopez and Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente remain possible options for the Gunners.