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Arsenal chief Gazidis driving new Walcott contract talks

Arsenal chief Ivan Gazidis will drive new contract talks with Theo Walcott this week.

The Sun says Gazidis is ready to speak with the England star's representatives - possibly in the next 48 hours - to end the contract deadlock.

Walcott, 23, who will see his current deal end this season, is set to be tempted with a £90,000-a-week salary over five years, bringing him level with top earners such as Lukas Podolski.

And he will also be offered a £3m signing-on fee to take the overall package to £26.4m.

Walcott and his team held unofficial talks with Gazidis early last month. But he has not had a concrete offer since the summer when he rejected £80,000 a week.

The player, who earns £50,000 a week, has seen his bargaining power increase due to recent goal-scoring displays in the new central striking role he craves.

He is also incredibly popular with the fans and is desperate to remain in north London.

Even though Chelsea and Manchester City want him, Walcott is desperate to commit his long-term future to the Emirates.

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