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Arsenal won't break bank for Walcott

Arsenal have warned Theo Walcott that they will not stray from their strict wage structure in order to convince the forward to sign a new deal.

• Wenger expects Walcott to stay
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Walcott, who has linked up with his international team-mates ahead of England's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, is in the final year of his contract at Emirates Stadium.

The forward has stressed that his hesitation over a new deal is for "footballing reasons" rather than financial ones, but Gunners chairman Peter Hill-Wood hinted that Walcott had been demanding more money.

Walcott looked to be closer to securing his Arsenal future when manager Arsene Wenger suggested he was willing to play the 23-year-old up front, but Hill-Wood says the club will not be held to ransom over the player's wages.

"We have got our general overall wage structure and we are not prepared to break it for anybody," Hill-Wood was quoted as saying in the Daily Star. "We have made an offer which he didn't think was acceptable and that is the end of it. We think it is a very reasonable offer.

"For the moment his people are still talking to us and we hope it will be resolved. But don't ask me when, because I haven't a clue.

"I hope that he will eventually come round and sign. It will be a pity if he does not, but the whole issue of pay for footballers has got totally out of hand and they don't get terribly well advised a lot of the time."


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