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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Wenger confident on Walcott deal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hopeful that Theo Walcott's signing of a new contract at the club can be completed by the weekend.

Arsene Wenger, Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott has been locked in talks with Arsenal for a long time

Talks between the two parties have been ongoing for some time, with Walcott’s current deal set to expire at the end of the season.

With the possibility of the England international being able to walk out on the club and join a rival for nothing, the Gunners see it as imperative that Walcott does not follow in the footsteps of Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri.

Wenger has recently deployed the former Southampton man in his favoured role as a striker - a move many say is to appease the player - while the Arsenal boss has also insisted Walcott is at the top of his priorities this January, over bringing in new additions to the squad.

Recent stories in the press claim Walcott has as good as agreed a new £20 million deal over three-and-a-half years, but nothing has yet been confirmed.

Wenger, however, said after Wednesday's 1-0 FA Cup victory over Swansea that the matter could soon be resolved.

"My optimism is at 99% now. I was scared that he could leave," he said. "It took us some time to get where we want to get and it's still not finalised, but hopefully it will be done by this weekend."

Wenger added: "Let's first try and finish the deal and see what we can do from there.

"I hope it will be soon. Very, very soon now."

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