Wenger: 'The club loves Theo'
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reiterated his desire to keep Theo Walcott at the club following the forward's hat-trick in the stunning 7-3 win over Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium.
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18. Theo Walcott
Wenger once again insisted after the game that Walcott will not be leaving during the January transfer window and remains hopeful he will sign an extension to his contract, which expires at the end of the season.
"The club loves Theo, Theo loves the club and trust me reciprocal love is difficult to find," said Wenger.
"He was man of the match, but the intensity of my desire is the same as it would have been if he had had a disastrous game: I want him to extend his contract and I'm hopeful he will.
"Theo showed what he can do, but there was also a new determination about him and a desire to run into the box.
"I know he can only get stronger. He is an intelligent player and because of that intelligence, he will continue to improve."
Walcott has scored four goals and won one decisive penalty in the three games he has started up front - a position he has asked to play in - and he now has 14 goals for the season.
"I hope something will be sorted soon," he said. "I enjoy playing in whatever position but it was just telling the manager to give me the opportunities to play up front.
"I'm not saying I'm always going to play up front but it's just showing what I can do but hopefully I've opened a few eyes and it's just a different option. Hopefully, I can start to take it a bit more often now."