Arsenal meet Walcott representatives to finalise €110,000-a-week contract

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Theo Walcott’s representatives are at Arsenal’s training headquarters today to finalise contract terms, Goal.com can reveal.

Walcott’s camp will meet with club chiefs, including manager Arsene Wenger, contract supremo Dicky Law and chief executive Ivan Gazidis, at London Colney to agree the terms of a new deal.

Goal.com understands that Walcott will be presented with a four-and-a-half year deal that runs until 2017.

Under the new agreement, the 23-year-old’s salary will climb from €74,000-a-week to around €110,000-a-week, which will be bolstered by top-up bonuses and a multi-million pound signing-on fee.

As revealed by Goal.com on Monday, both parties anticipate that it will be signed this week, ahead of the Manchester City clash on Sunday.

Walcott has indicated his desire to stay at Emirates Stadium after being verbally offered the improved package by Arsenal during fruitful discussions over the last fortnight.

He has also been encouraged that Arsene Wenger has lived up to his promise of giving him opportunities to play in his favourite centre-forward role.

Walcott has started Arsenal’s last five matches up front, scoring four goals, including a hat-trick against Newcastle United. Despite being regularly overlooked by Wenger in the first three months of the season, he leads the club’s scoring charts with 14 goals.

Walcott’s preference has always been to stay at Emirates Stadium, where he is popular both among staff and with the other players.

Arsenal are confident they will be able to announce Walcott’s new contract imminently, which will then allow Wenger to concentrate on reinforcing Arsenal’s squad.

The manager has set his sights on acquiring a senior striker from Spain, with David Villa and Adrian Lopez his top two targets.

Securing Walcott’s future will be a huge boost to Arsenal after tying fellow Brits Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson to new five-year deals shortly before Christmas.

Walcott, whose contract expires in the summer, is free to sign a pre-contract with a foreign club this month.

Barring any late hitches, that looks unlikely, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool among the leading clubs set to be disappointed that he has committed the prime years of his career to Arsenal.

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Andre Wisdom signs long-term Liverpool contract

Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom has signed a new “long-term” contract with the club.

The 19-year-old scored on his senior debut against Young Boys in September and has gone on to make 14 first-team appearances for the Reds so far this term.

He told the club’s official website: “It’s a great honour to sign a new contract at the club and I’m very happy.

“It was an easy decision to make – as soon as they offered it to me, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands because it’s a great club and I just want to continue to play for Liverpool.

“I am happy with the progress I’ve made so far and hopefully I can progress more in the second half of the season and continue to keep playing.

“There’s still so much hard work ahead. There is big competition within the team and everyone wants to play football. I just hope I can keep progressing and continue in the way I have been.”

Liverpool’s managing director, Ian Ayre, hailed the deal and believes the future at Anfield is bright after recently also securing Raheem Sterling to a long-term deal on Merseyside.

Ayre added: “It’s fantastic news. It’s another great example of a player committing to the club and what we’re trying to achieve under Brendan [Rodgers].

“He’s a great young player, shown a fantastic improvement, broken into the first team and made a huge contribution – and rightly so, we’ve provided him with a new contract and a long term one.

“Getting talent like him, Raheem and others to commit at this point is absolutely essential to the future.

“The manager, the owners and everyone have said the key is to build something for the long term – and young players are a catalyst to that. None more so than Andre.

“He’s come on leaps and bounds in the last year or so and that’s because of all the hard work he’s put in and the manager giving him a chance, so it’s absolutely essential players like that commit themselves to the club.”

BREAKING NEWS: Andre Wisdom signs long-term Liverpool contract

Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom has signed a new “long-term” contract with the club.

The 19-year-old scored on his senior debut against Young Boys in September and has gone on to make 14 first-team appearances for the Reds so far this term.

He told the club’s official website: “It’s a great honour to sign a new contract at the club and I’m very happy.

“It was an easy decision to make – as soon as they offered it to me, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands because it’s a great club and I just want to continue to play for Liverpool.

“I am happy with the progress I’ve made so far and hopefully I can progress more in the second half of the season and continue to keep playing.

“There’s still so much hard work ahead. There is big competition within the team and everyone wants to play football. I just hope I can keep progressing and continue in the way I have been.”

Liverpool’s managing director, Ian Ayre, hailed the deal and believes the future at Anfield is bright after recently also securing Raheem Sterling to a long-term deal on Merseyside.

Ayre added: “It’s fantastic news. It’s another great example of a player committing to the club and what we’re trying to achieve under Brendan [Rodgers].

“He’s a great young player, shown a fantastic improvement, broken into the first team and made a huge contribution – and rightly so, we’ve provided him with a new contract and a long term one.

“Getting talent like him, Raheem [Sterling] and others to commit at this point is absolutely essential to the future.

“The manager, the owners and everyone have said the key is to build something for the long term – and young players are a catalyst to that. None more so than Andre.

“He’s come on leaps and bounds in the last year or so and that’s because of all the hard work he’s put in and the manager giving him a chance, so it’s absolutely essential players like that commit themselves to the club.”

Juventus & AC Milan to battle it out for Lucas Mugni

EXCLUSIVE
Romeo Agresti

Juventus have joined AC Milan in the race for Colon midfielder Lucas Mugni, while Catania are also closely monitoring the youngster’s progress, Goal.com can reveal.

The Rossoneri see the 20-year-old as a valuable addition to their squad for the long term and have already contacted his club to discuss a potential.

However, they face stiff competition from the Bianconeri, who are ready to make a €2.7 million offer for the creative midfielder.

Sporting director Fabio Paratici sees Mugni as the perfect signing for the future after receiving glowing reports from the club’s head scout about the young midfielder.

Mugni is a product of the Colon youth academy and has developed into an important first team member for the Santa Fe outside since making his official debut at the club in 2010.

Paris Saint-Germain director Leonardo hints at Cristiano Ronaldo move

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo / Getty

Paris Saint-Germain director Leonardo has refused to rule out a move for Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo amid ongoing rumours that the Portugal international has set his sights on a move away from the Bernabeu.

The prolific attacker made the headlines earlier this season by admitting that he was unhappy with life at the club, and a number of recent reports have suggested that he has no intention to sign a new contract with los Blancos.

“Cristiano Ronaldo? Paris Saint-Germain have become a club where anything is possible,” Leonardo was quoted as saying by L’Equipe.

“However, he still has an ongoing contract with Real Madrid and we have to realise that he will not leave Madrid for just any club.

“When we are discussing a possible transfer for a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, there are only four or five clubs that can be taken into consideration. Paris Saint-Germain are one of those clubs …”

The 27-year-old attacker is under contract with Madrid until the summer of 2015.