Arsenal F.C. manager Arsene Wenger is confident the club can agree a deal to keep Theo Walcott in North London.
The England international, who is out of contract at the end of next season, scored a first half hat-trick in just 37 minutes against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday and Wenger is hopeful the player will sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium in the summer.
“Without a hat-trick, with a hat-trick, we want him to stay,” Wenger said. “We are in negotiations. We are starting to speak with his agent, and that is before he had made his hat-trick.
“Theo is a good scorer, but he has been out for a year. A year in a football is a long, long time, and it takes time to be back at your best, [to regain] your sharpness and confidence.
“I have always said that he can play in the middle because he has good movement and good finishing. He did that well today.
“I hope he stays free of injuries now. He has had a few doubts on the injury front, and that is never good. You have to be consistently present to express your full potential.”
Walcott, 26, scored five goals in 14 English Premier League appearances for the Gunners, who are priced at 1/2 to win the FA Cup final against Aston Villa on Wednesday night, in 2014/15.
Carver calls for summer spending spree
Newcastle United boss John Carver has asked owner Mike Ashley to invest when the transfer window re-opens in the summer.
The Magpies’ 2-0 win over West Ham United on Sunday ended their 10-match win-less streak and helped the club secure their top flight status for another season.
However, Carver has now called on Ashley to bring in new players in the coming months to lift the club up the league table.
“The fact he’s saying he wants to win something is fantastic,” Carver said.
“We’ve seen how good our fans are, we’ve seen what performances we can put in when we get all together, and we all have to be together.
“If Mike’s come forward, fair play to him and credit to him because he wants this club to be united.
“We all want to win things and it’s a big summer for the football club. We have to invest – we know that, Mike knows that, [managing director] Lee Charnley knows that – and hopefully we will.”
Newcastle (10-9-19) finished the 2014/15 campaign in 15th-place in the league table with 39 points, a mere four points clear of the relegation zone.