Arsenal are keen to tie Theo Walcott down to a new long-term deal to ward off interest from Chelsea.

The Gunners are nervous Roman Abramovich has earmarked Walcott as his next big summer signing, after the Blues owner clinched a deal to bring Eden Hazard to Stamford Bridge.

According to the Daily Mail, Walcott's current contract expires at the end of next season, and Arsenal want to sit the winger down for talks after England's Euro 2012 campaign.

With Robin van Persie's future still uncertain, the Gunners face a race against time to lock their top players down to long-term contracts. But, Arsenal have reportedly been slow to offer Walcott concrete terms on a new deal, despite the winger publicly declaring his willingness to discuss new terms.

Arsene Wenger's side are believed to value their England forward at £20million, but Chelsea are thought to be monitoring the contract negotiations in case he becomes available on the cheap next season.

Should Walcott fail to agree a new contract, he could move on a free transfer next summer, and could begin talks with foreign clubs as early as January.

But with Arsenal eager to offer Robin van Persie an upgraded deal, the Gunners will look to do likewise with Walcott once he returns from Ukraine and Poland.

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#Arsenal
#Robin Van Persie
#Football
#Chelsea
#Premier League
#Theo Walcott