Cape Town - Arsène Wenger says that he does not want to miss England international Theo Walcott's "golden age" by allowing him to leave Arsenal.
The England forward has struggled for game time since returning from 12 months on the sidelines due to Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey’s form in the wide positions.
Olivier Giroud’s has also impressed up front but Wenger believes it is not too late to transform Walcott into an out-and-out striker.
“I bought him at Southampton when he was 17 because I believe in his qualities as a good finisher and the timing of his runs are very intelligent,” the manager told arsenal.com.
“He’s at the best age now. Being 26 to 32 as a striker is the best age as a striker and I wouldn’t like to miss that golden age.
“I think his position will be striker. I work with him in both situations, as a striker and as a wide player. But the quality of the runs is so fantastic with the pace he has. When he was younger he was rushing his finishing but he is a good finisher now.
“He can be transformed. He is naturally gifted to play in this position but he has different qualities. Olivier Giroud has a physical presence, back to goal, can head the ball. Theo is more a guy who is a runner, who goes behind.
“He loves the club and I think he wants to stay. [Out] of the whole squad he is the player who has played the most games for us. Nobody has played more for us than Theo. I think he has played 202 games and that means he is part of us.”