Arsenal: Arsene Wenger warning over Theo Walcott's new deal

Arsenal's Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott is Arsenal's longest-serving player having joined the club in 2006

A deal to keep England forward Theo Walcott at Arsenal beyond the summer of 2016 could be a slow process, admits manager Arsene Wenger.

Wenger revealed the former Southampton player was "difficult to convince" before he signed his previous contract, a three-and-a-half-year deal in 2013.

Walcott, 25, has made just four starts this season due to a knee injury.

"We have started very early with him," said Wenger. "He is very quick on the pitch, but off the pitch not always."

Walcott was on the bench for Arsenal's FA Cup victory over Manchester United as he continues his recovery from a serious injury picked up in January.

Walcott has found himself behind Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - who is out for up to a month - in Wenger's thoughts since his return, but the Frenchman says he would find similar competition for places at any big club.

"Walcott was difficult to convince (in 2013) and that is why it took us much time," said Wenger.

"I always wanted to keep him and I still want to keep him now.

"I want him to stay and be a regular player and fight for his place, but no matter where you go if it is a big club you have to compete for your place."