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Wenger urges Walcott to stay

ARSENE Wenger hopes Theo Walcott fulfils his potential as a striker at Arsenal.

Contract talks between player and club have stalled with the Gunners unwilling to meet Walcott's wage expectations, while his demand to play in a central role is also a sticking point.

The 23-year-old underlined his goalscoring threat by firing a hat-trick in Arsenal's thrilling 7-5 League Cup victory over Reading.

Arsenal will sell Walcott in January if they fail to reach a compromise, but Wenger hopes he will remain at the Emirates.

"Theo was superb. I always said that he will be a striker, so we are on the same wavelength there," he said.

"First of all he is a good finisher now. Secondly, he knows where to be in the box on the rebound.

"That's a quality of a striker you can't give, you feel it or you don't.

"He has the qualities to play as a striker and I hope he will be a striker at Arsenal. I always said I want to keep him.

"During the contract talks you have to give him credit for the way he's committed to the team and the way he behaves."