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Walcott will sign a new Arsenal contract, says Wenger

posted 11 Jan 2013, 07:31 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 11 Jan 2013, 07:31 ]

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is optimistic Theo Walcott will sign a new contract with the club before the January transfer window closes.

 LONDON COLNEY, NEAR LONDONUNITED KINGDOM (JANUARY 11, 2013) (REUTERS) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday (January 11) that he is even more optimistic than ever that Theo Walcott will sign a new contract with the club.

Negotiations with Walcott have been ongoing for several months and the lack of an agreement has caused speculation about the England international's future.

It is thought Arsenal are prepared to make Walcott, who has scored 14 goals this season, one of the highest paid players at the club with a deal worth £90,000 per week.

"We are on a good road but in this situation as long as nothing is signed your cautious but I'm optimistic that we will get to a happy conclusion and I was optimistic last week you can tell me and you are right but I'm a bit more optimistic this week," Wenger told reporters at a news conference.

Wenger went on to say that he expected Walcott to put pen to paper by the end of the January transfer window.

Arsenal will look to strengthen his squad this month following the departures ofMarouane Chamakh and Johan Djourou on loan. The Gunners are also withoutGervinho for a month as the forward is away with Ivory Coast at the African Nations Cup and his fellow striker Olivier Giroud is struggling with a knee injury but Wenger insisted he would only sign players of a certain pedigree.

"I always said first of all we have two targets. (One) is to get our players signed up who are inside the club (and) the second is to get our injuries back," Wenger explained. "We have now (Tomas) Rosicky available again, we have (Abou) Diaby available again and if you look at our squad it's quite a complete squad.

"We still work on the transfer market of course but we do not want to bring in average because we want only to bring in the exceptional player and at the moment we have not found him."

Arsenal host the English Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday (January 13). The teams drew 1-1 at the Etihad earlier in the season but Wenger is expecting a more open game.

Both teams need the win as City are second in the league, seven points behind leaders Manchester United, while Arsenal are sixth trailing their next opponents by 11 points.

However, victory for Roberto Mancini's team will be a tall order. City lost 1-0 at Arsenal in April last year when Mario Balotelli was sent off and they will be missing midfieldpowerhouse Yaya Toure who, just like Gervinho, is preparing for the African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.

"Football is unpredictable and you never know what can happen before a big game usually," Wenger said.

"I felt that the last game we played 1-1 at City was a good game, an open one as well where both teams had chances and the fact that both teams have absolutely to go for a win promises a more open game. Last time City came and was happy with a draw. I think we are in a situation where a draw will not be good enough for them and we are in the same situation so I expect a more open game."

Meanwhile, City have sent back 912 of the 3,000 tickets they were allocated for Sunday's league clash at Arsenal, with travelling fans unhappy at the 62 pounds ($100) cost for a seat at the Emirates.

Widely regarded as one of the richest clubs in the world after they were bought by SheikhMansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2008, City have forked out millions to sign the likes ofSergio AgueroDavid Silva and Mario Balotelli in recent seasons.

Despite the massive outlay, the most expensive ticket prices at the Etihad Stadium are 58 pounds with the cheapest at 26 pounds, according to an October survey by the BBC.

Arsenal sold the Premier League's most expensive match day ticket at 126 pounds and, like City, also one of the cheapest available at 26 pounds.

Wenger admitted that some ticket prices were high but believes supporters will always have to make a significant contribution to income.

"You want ideally the ticket prices to be as low as possible but on the other hand the only way we can pay the wages and compete without any external help is the ticket prices because it's our main income," he said.

"Therefore of course we are in this situation where of course the prices are high and I'm really worried that they're high for our supporters. For the visitors that happens once a year so that's less a concern."