Gunners forward to agree Emirates Stadium stay.
Theo Walcott is poised to sign a new Arsenal contract this week, Goal.com can reveal.
The England international is close to finalising improved terms following fruitful talks over the last fortnight.
Goal.com understands that Walcott will put pen to paper on a deal that runs until 2017.
The 23-year-old’s salary will climb from £60,000-a-week to around £90,000-a-week under the new agreement, which will be bolstered by top-up bonuses and a multi-million pound signing-on fee.
Walcott has indicated his desire to stay at Emirates Stadium after being offered an improved package by Arsenal. He has also been encouraged that Arsene Wenger has lived up to his promise of giving him opportunities to play in his favourite centre-forward role.
Walcott has started Arsenal’s last five matches up front, scoring four goals, including a hat-trick against Newcastle United. Despite being regularly overlooked by Wenger in the first three months of the season, he leads the club’s scoring charts with 14 goals.
Both parties are confident the new deal will be signed by the end of the week, which will then allow Wenger to concentrate on reinforcing Arsenal’s squad.
This will be the most important signing Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger makes this month.
Theo Walcott’s contract situation has been hanging over the club, dominating the headlines since the backend of last season.
After the departures of Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy and others in recent seasons, Wenger simply could not afford to see Walcott leave the Emirates Stadium, particularly with so many of the Gunners’ Premier League rivals interested in the England forward.
Walcott’s demands have been two-fold: a hefty pay-packet of around £100,000 per week and a central striking role.
Wenger, a notoriously stubborn and cautious character, initially refused to grant either, leaving Walcott on the bench at the start of the campaign and persevering with new signing Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman also refused to budge on his offer of around £70,000 per week wages.
But gradually, Walcott has forced his way back into his manager’s plans and his perfromances from the bench and in the League Cup persuaded Wenger to hand the England international the place up-front he craves.
The former Southampton star has not disappointed, bringing his total for the season to 8 Premier League goals in just nine starts with a stunning hattrick against Newcastle United last month.
If, as the source states, Walcott really is set to sign a new deal at Arsenal, it will be a major boost for the club and could provide the momentum needed to mount a serious assault of the Premier League top two, starting with Man City’s visit to the Emirates at the weekend.
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