Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has contradicted Theo Walcott by admitting that talks regarding a new contract have started despite suggestions to the contrary.
While dismissing reports he had fallen out with Wenger, the England international claimed that there had been no talks over an extension to his current deal which has less than 18 months to run.
However, Wenger says discussions have taken place with Walcott over keeping the 26-year-old at the Emirates Stadium, drawing confusion over the winger's future. Wenger told beIN Sport: "We have started to negotiate with Theo to extend his deal."
Walcott, who is currently away with the England squad on international duty, has made just three Premier League starts this season due to injury while the form of Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez means breaking into the team is becoming increasingly tough.
The Gunners will likely be keen to settle Walcott's future before the end of season and prior to the player entering the final 12 months of his deal, which could see the club become vulnerable to interest from rival clubs.
In 2013, Walcott ran his contract down to the final six months before signing a fresh three-and-half-year contract and ex-Arsenal striker John Hartson says he owes it to the North London club to agree an extension.
"He is on big money at Arsenal and they have looked after him in terms of his contract," he said.
"When he was out for a long period, injured about six months ago, he was out for a long time and he's only just come back in, they looked after him and nurtured him back. I know there is not a lot of loyalty in football but sometimes it is nice when you see players give back to the club that have put them where they are."