Arsenal star to get striker chance, says Wenger

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted Theo Walcott could be the man to lead the line for the Gunners after his Capital One Cup heroics against Reading helped overturn a 4-0 deficit.

The England international has made it clear he favours a role through the middle, but Walcott has been forced to watch on as a number of other Arsenal stars get the opportunity to be Arsenal's main striker.

Gervinho, Lukas Podoldski and Olivier Giroud have all been ahead of Walcott in the Gunners pecking order. And the 23-year-old is yet to sign a new Arsenal contract - his present deal expires at the end of this season - prompting speculation he could move away from the Emirates Stadium.

But Wenger moved to assure fans that Walcott is very much in his plans, and that the ex-Southampton winger may get his chance in a forward berth in the coming weeks.

"I always said he will be a striker," Wenger said in The Metro. "He's a good finisher now. He knows where to be on the rebounds. That is the quality of a striker you cant give to someone, they either have it or they don't.

"I want to keep him, and I think aside from the contract talks, you have to give him credit for the way he is committed to the team, and for the way he behaves."

Walcott is free to discuss personal terms with rival clubs from January onwards, and the England star is reportedly set to sit down for crunch talks with the Arsenal hierarchy to try and thrash out a deal.

If no agreement is reached by November, reports suggest Walcott will be set to leave the Gunners.

The Metro claim the hat-trick hero is requesting a new £100,000-a-week deal to stay at Arsenal, as well as assurances over his playing position.

The England international staked his claim for a striker berth on Tuesday, as he finished the match with three goals as Arsenal beat Reading 5-7 in an incredible match.

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