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Walcott signs new Arsenal contract

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger receives a boost as agreement is reached between club and England forward Theo Walcott.
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2013 16:27
Walcott (L) has been in a great vein of form despite Arsenal's slow start to the season [AFP]

Theo Walcott's drawn-out contract standoff with Arsenal ended Friday with the signing of a lucrative new contract.

The England forward could have left the club for free at the end of the season, but has agreed to a 3½-year deal that sees his salary rise by two-thirds to about $160,000 a week.

"I have made it clear from the start that I wanted to stay at Arsenal, so I am pleased we have agreed a deal that everyone is happy with," Walcott said.

"What is important now is for the team to realise its potential and win trophies."

Arsenal has not won a trophy since 2005, the year before Walcott joined from Southampton.

"He joined us as a 16-year-old and since then has developed very well to become an extremely important player for both Arsenal and England"

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

The uncertainty over Walcott's future has coincided with the Gunners struggling in the Premier League, with the team currently sixth.

"Theo's contract extension now gives us a strong nucleus of ambitious young players who have committed to the club and want to be successful with us as a group," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.

Walcott has been granted his wish in recent matches to play as a center forward, and he is Arsenal's leading scorer this season with 14 goals.

"He joined us as a 16-year-old and since then has developed very well to become an extremely important player for both Arsenal and England," Wenger said.

"Theo is a strong player and also a great person, and the combination of his ability and pace always make him such a  valuable asset either from the flanks or down the middle."

Arsenal's hopes of a trophy this season seem to rest with the FA Cup and Champions League, where the team faces Bayern Munich in the last 16 next month.

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Source:
AP
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