Last Updated: Sun, 30 Dec 2012 10:46
Theo Walcott's hat-trick against Newcastle has not altered Arsene Wenger's opinion of how much he wants him to extend his Arsenal deal.
Walcott's contract expires at the end of the season and the England star is free to speak to other clubs from next week.
Wenger, speaking after the Gunners' 7-3 home win last night, does not believe that Walcott's performance - showing that he can flourish in his preferred role as central striker - changes much.
He said: "My desire is to extend his contract. He belongs here and hopefully we can do it.
"Should he have had a disastrous game today, it would not have altered my determination to extend his contract."
Walcott's effectiveness since Wenger switched him to play as a central striker has been attributed to his capacity to learn the role - where he has been taking tips from Thierry Henry at the training ground.
"Today just typifies what I think he can do through the middle," Wenger said. "The first goal was a Thierry Henry-type goal and he showed great determination with the third.
"He has become a good finisher. He has learned a lot because he is an intelligent player. Because he is intelligent he will continue to improve."
Walcott's triple strike makes him the club's top scorer and, after hitting 10 goals in his last 10 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions, he is the hottest striker in the Premier League.
Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are all believed to be interested in the 23-year-old, who signed from Southampton when he was 16.
Speaking after the Newcastle game, Walcott said talks were "ongoing" with Arsenal, adding: "I'm sure something will be sorted soon."
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