Wenger: Chelsea and Liverpool target can play up front, hopefully with us

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Theo Walcott has the ability to play as a centre forward and hopes that it is with the Gunners.

The 23-year-old was superb for the north Londoners, scoring a hat-trick as they came from 4-0 down at Reading to win 7-5 after extra time.

And Wenger believes Walcott’s positioning in the box is the hallmark of a great predatory striker.

“He was superb [against Reading],” the Frenchman said.

“I always said that he will be a striker so we are on the same wavelengths there because he is a good finisher, as shown by the way he scored the first goal.

“I believe he knows where to be in the box on the rebounds.

“I like that because that’s a quality of a striker that you can’t give to anybody.

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“You either feel it or you don’t and he has the qualities to play there.”

Walcott is out of contract in the summer and has been heavily linked with a move to Premier League rivals Chelsea and Liverpool.

But the Frenchman is keen to tie down his forward to a new deal.

“That’s what I hope,” Wenger added. “I always said I wanted to keep him.

“Apart from the contract talks, you have to give him credit for the way he has committed [himself in training] and the way he behaves.”