By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Theo Walcott’s representatives are at Arsenal’s training headquarters today to finalise contract terms, Goal.com can reveal.
Walcott’s camp will meet with club chiefs, including manager Arsene Wenger, contract supremo Dicky Law and chief executive Ivan Gazidis, at London Colney to agree the terms of a new deal.
Goal.com understands that Walcott will be presented with a four-and-a-half year deal that runs until 2017.
Under the new agreement, the 23-year-old’s salary will climb from €74,000-a-week to around €110,000-a-week, which will be bolstered by top-up bonuses and a multi-million pound signing-on fee.
As revealed by Goal.com on Monday, both parties anticipate that it will be signed this week, ahead of the Manchester City clash on Sunday.
Walcott has indicated his desire to stay at Emirates Stadium after being verbally offered the improved package by Arsenal during fruitful discussions over the last fortnight.
He has also been encouraged that Arsene Wenger has lived up to his promise of giving him opportunities to play in his favourite centre-forward role.
Walcott has started Arsenal’s last five matches up front, scoring four goals, including a hat-trick against Newcastle United. Despite being regularly overlooked by Wenger in the first three months of the season, he leads the club’s scoring charts with 14 goals.
Walcott’s preference has always been to stay at Emirates Stadium, where he is popular both among staff and with the other players.
Arsenal are confident they will be able to announce Walcott’s new contract imminently, which will then allow Wenger to concentrate on reinforcing Arsenal’s squad.
The manager has set his sights on acquiring a senior striker from Spain, with David Villa and Adrian Lopez his top two targets.
Securing Walcott’s future will be a huge boost to Arsenal after tying fellow Brits Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson to new five-year deals shortly before Christmas.
Walcott, whose contract expires in the summer, is free to sign a pre-contract with a foreign club this month.
Barring any late hitches, that looks unlikely, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool among the leading clubs set to be disappointed that he has committed the prime years of his career to Arsenal.
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