Theo Walcott to sign Arsenal deal in weeks - Arsene Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Theo Walcott will sign a new contract with the club by 31 January.

The 23-year-old striker is in the final six months of his deal and could leave on a free transfer in the summer.

But when asked if Walcott will sign before the end of the month, Wenger said: "Yes. We're on a good road."

Arsenal top scorers this season

Premier League League Cup Europe Total

Theo Walcott

8

5

1

14

Olivier Giroud

6

2

1

9

Lukas Podolski

6

0

3

9

Santi Cazorla

7

0

0

7

Gervinho

3

0

2

5

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."

Walcott is Arsenal's top scorer this season with 14 goals in all competitions, his best tally in a single campaign since joining Arsenal in 2006.

But he rejected a new five-year deal worth £75,000 a week in August and is holding out for closer to £100,000 a week.

"The discussions progress smoothly - slowly but smoothly," said 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."