Arsenala s Arsene Wenger admitted that Theo Walcott is very difficult when it comes to contract negotiations and that a new deal is not close despite there being just over a year left in his present one.

Arsene said, a The first contacts have been established with the embassy. We will see how that progresses politically.

a Walcott was difficult to convince [for his previous contract] and that is why it took us much time. We started very early with him but it was slow progress.

a He is very quick on the pitch but off the pitch, not always.a

a I want him to stay and be a regular player and fight for his place,a he said.

a But no matter where you go, if it is a big club, you have to compete for your place. We went to Manchester United on Monday night a look at what they had on the bench.

a Look at what was sitting on the bench at Chelsea v Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night. That is part of the job.a

Since his return to the team from injury, Walcott has not had regular starts, with Alexis and Oclade-Chamberlain being preferred over him on the right side. This could very well become a problem during contract negotiations as Theo might insist on more starts, in the same way he insisted that he would only sign a new contract if he were assured of a central striker’s role

When asked if it would indeed come into play, Arsene said, a Of course. I bought SA?nchez and Welbeck because you are responsible for a club and when you know a player is out for a year and will not play until January, you cannot sacrifice the first six months.

a Then, Giroud was injured and was ruled out for four months a people dona t want to know how long they will be out, they want players to play.a

However, Arsene said the reason he didn’t start Walcott in more games was more as a precaution for his long injury. He said, a He is ready now to play games. But when a player has been out for a year, when he comes back he always thinks he is ready. When you speak to him three weeks later and ask him if he thinks he really was ready [before] he says, a Now I realise, noa .

a I have been holding him back because he has been out for a long time and for the fact there is intense competition.a