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Arsenal expect Walcott to sign new deal by end of month

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is confident Theo Walcott will sign a new contract with the club by 31 January. But when asked if the 23 year old striker will sign before the end of the month, Wenger said: "Yes. We're on a good road."

The Frenchman added: "I am optimistic we will get to a happy conclusion. I was optimistic last week but I'm a bit more optimistic this week."

"The discussions progress smoothly - slowly but smoothly," added Wenger.

When asked if Walcott's desire to play regularly as the central striker has complicated matters, Wenger explained: "No, it's not linked with that.

"I believe Theo can have a preference maybe to play through the middle, but first of all he never made a conditions of that to extend his contract. Certainly I would not accept it.

"Secondly, he was always happy when he plays - on the flank or through the middle? I see him playing more up front."

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Dave Williams

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