Arsenal transfers: Theo Walcott belongs here, declares Arsene Wenger
Arsenal transfers: Arsene Wenger claims Theo Walcott "belongs" with Gunners after man-of-the-match display against Newcastle
Arsene Wenger has once again reiterated his desire to tie Theo Walcott down to a new Arsenal contract after his impressive hat-trick helped the Gunners sink Newcastle on Saturday.
Walcott’s treble added to a brace from substitute Olivier Giroud, which followed goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski, as Arsenal ran out 7-3 winners over the Magpies in a thrilling game in north London.
The England international’s future has been a source of constant speculation this season, with the 23-year-old’s current deal set to expire next summer.
And Wenger, whose side moved up to fifth in the Premier League table after Saturday’s win, has stressed his desire to see Walcott commit his future to the Gunners.
“The intensity of my desire [to extend his contract] is exactly the same as it was before the game,” said Wenger. “My desire is to extend his contract, he belongs here and hopefully we can do it.
“I think the commitment for a club is a long-term process. I don’t think it should depend on one game.
“Should he have had a disastrous game today, it would not have altered my determination to extend his contract and to sign him. That does not depend on one game.”
He added: “I think he loves the club and the club loves him, and the reciprocity in love is the most difficult to find.”
Walcott was deployed as a striker in Saturday’s win and Wenger believes the former Southampton player is beginning to prove his worth in that position after being largely used as a winger during his time in north London.
Wenger said: “He has done very well and it just typifies what I think he can do. He can play through the middle, I am convinced of that, and he can only get stronger in there. Overall I am pleased with his performance.”