Arsenal plot new Theo Walcott contract that will tie him down for 5 more years as a Gunner

LONDON. KAZINFORM - Arsenal are to offer Theo Walcott a new deal that will keep him at the Emirates for the next five years.

England forward Walcott, 25, will have a year left on his current contract at the end of the season.

And the Gunners are determined to avoid a repeat of the scenario three years ago when Walcott was in the final 12 months of his contract before signing a new one.

It led to speculation that he would indeed leave - and on a free transfer. But manager Arsene Wenger sees Walcott as a key man in Arsenal's future and wants him long­-term.

Talks are set to begin with the player's representatives this month and the deal could well be signed by the end of March.

Walcott was sidelined with a serious knee problem after he was injured in an FA Cup third round tie against Tottenham.

He missed the rest of Arsenal's season, including victory in the FA Cup, the World Cup finals with England in Brazil and the first four months of the current campaign.

But he proved his fitness with a substitute appearance in the 2­-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year's Day and showed a week ago that he has retained his pace and sharpness with the first goal in Arsenal's 3­-2 win at Brighton in the FA Cup. With Danny Welbeck still injured and a doubt over Alexis Sanchez, Walcott is set for a major role in Sunday's Premier League clash with Aston Villa at the Emirates.

And when the winter transfer window closes on Monday night, the club will be ready to open negotiations.

The offer is likely to take Walcott into the top earnings bracket at Arsenal - well into six figures a week, Kazinform refers to Mirror Online .

The club have already shown their intent to keep their best young players in their dealings with Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin.

Wilshere will be offered a lucrative contract extension once he is back from an ankle injury while Coquelin - a revelation in the 2­-0 win at Manchester City two weeks ago - has agreed a four­-year deal.

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