Arsene Wenger says he is ready to transform Theo Walcott into the next Thierry Henry or Robin van Persie by moving the young winger into a central striker position.

Walcott has outlined his ambition to play as a centre-forward and claims this will be an important factor when it comes to deciding whether he will extend his stay in north London.

The 23-year-old is out of contract with Arsenal next summer and his future at the Emirates Stadium remains uncertain with Walcott reported to be attracting interest from elsewhere.

Wenger has persisted with using Walcott on the wing this season - despite his protestations - with Ivorian Gervinho often preferred ahead of the England international.

Gervinho has scored five goals for the Gunners this term since his move inside, but Wenger says he now intends to give Walcott a chance to prove himself - just like he did with former Arsenal stars Henry and Van Persie.

"I did it with Henry and Van Persie and I think I will do it with Walcott," Wenger told a press conference ahead of the weekend clash with West Ham.

The Gunners travel to Upton Park on for Saturday's late kick-off, and meet a Hammers side buoyed by an impressive start to the season under Sam Allardyce.

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