• Premier League

Walcott deal, not signings is Wenger's priority

ESPN staff
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Arsene Wenger has insisted he will not contemplate bringing in reinforcements until he has clarified Theo Walcott's future at Arsenal.

Arsenal have got their season back on track in recent weeks, with Walcott playing a key part in an advanced role. The England attacker's future is up in the air, as he is in the final months of his contract.

Wenger is hopeful of persuading Walcott to pen a new deal and that remains his priority, despite the Gunners being linked with new faces.

The Arsenal boss is unsure whether Walcott will sign a deal, but has maintained the club's desire is to thrash out fresh terms with the player he brought to the club from Southampton.

"It is difficult to be predictable in these kinds of situations, but I have always said our desire is to do it as quickly as possible," Wenger said ahead of Arsenal's FA Cup clash with Swansea, a game live on ESPN. "We are ready to do it."

Walcott has made it clear he sees his future as a central striker but Wenger does not know if that will influence the decision.

He said: "I believe he is ready to play up front, he enjoys it maybe more because it is a new experience for him and he is ready to do it. Whether it will play a part in his decision I don't know, only he can answer that question."

When asked about the prospect of bringing in fresh blood, Wenger said: "First of all, what I have said is that we have to make sure the players who are here stay here. After that we look outside, so let's try and finalise the deal with Theo Walcott and after if we need something else we will look outside."

Wenger also stressed that the hold up to the deal being agreed was not down to money.

"I don't think that Theo is only interested by money," Wenger said. "I do believe it would be positive for the moral of the team if we manage to sign him. We are ready to do it."

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