Posted: Fri January 18, 2013 10:56AM; Updated: Fri January 18, 2013 10:56AM

Walcott renews contract with Arsenal

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Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott (right) leads Arsenal with eight goals in the Premier League.
David Price/Getty Images

LONDON (AP) -- Theo Walcott's drawn-out contract standoff with Arsenal has ended with the signing of a new contract.

The England forward could have left the club for free at the end of the season, but has agreed on a deal which is reported to be 3 1/2 years long.

Walcott has made 244 appearances for Arsenal since joining from Southampton in 2006.

Manager Arsene Wenger says "we are all delighted that Theo has signed a new contract. He joined us as a 16-year-old and since then has developed very well to become an extremely important player.''

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