Morning to you all, after a nervy win against French Champions, Montpellier. You have to be pleased with the way we performed yesterday, although Montpellier certainly put up a fight in the second half. “Grinding out a win” would be a good way to describe that match, except we’re Arsenal, so we “barely held on as a huge upset was on the cards”. Anyway, enough stick to the media, let’s talk about something that’s been looming over us since deadline day.
Recently we’ve been treated to a new look Arsenal. For one, we rarely concede, so little that we currently have the highest goal difference in the league. We’re also a completely changed team, with only 5 first team players remaining from the 2007-08 season. We’re currently on the right end of the table, in 3rd place, and key players returning from injury. Despite all these positives, we’ve still got one problem; Theo Walcott.
Let me go on record and say that I’ve never rated Walcott. I believe he’s a horrible winger, and stats don’t lie. So why is he still banging around the Arsenal broom cupboard? Arsène Wenger. Can you think of a more stubborn coach? I can’t, especially when it comes to youth talent. Walcott, 23, is getting a bit long in the tooth for being one of potential, so it’s time for him to prove he’s worth his salt. It’s not for a lack of trying, it’s his position in relation to his level of skill. I think of Theo Walcott as a Bugatti Veyron, and someone like the Ox a F1 racer. With A Bugatti, you’re untouchable – in a straight line – but if you decide to turn, stop, or breathe for that matter, you’re going to spin off the track, you’re going to crash, and you’re going to die. Theo is like a book with the last page ripped out: There’s so much that could have happened, but didn’t. I’ve never seen a player as one-dimensional as the Englishman. Run to the by line, cut inside (poorly) to have a shot, or send a cross over everyone’s head, and out of play. That’s Walcott’s thought process every. Single. Time. Not that he’s terribly good at either.
Yes, Theo scored 8 goals in the EPL last year, but is that really good enough for a player who wants to be paid a reported £100k per week? In my book, Walcott is already overpaid at £75k p/w. Until he can prove himself to be a top performer week in week out, he can sit and stew for all I care. Players get improved contracts for improving themselves, and apart from the odd purple patch, has Walcott really gotten that much better? Okay, so he’s a more composed finisher, but there isn’t much use to that trait, considering he’s a wide player, meant to create chances for others.
I sympathize with him slightly, as he’s in an awkward position. He wants to play down the middle, but can’t convince anyone with his average performances down the wings enough to merit any consideration from the boss You’d have to wonder why others have more freedom in position, but not Theo. Take Gervinho for example: He started out life at Arsenal on the left-wing, and became more frustrating by the minute. Wenger realized Gervinho is quite a strong centre forward, and quickly adapted his tactics to suit Gervinho up front, and so far it’s worked wonders. Why doesn’t Theo receive the same treatment? I imagine he wonders the same, but getting frustrated and making outrageous demands in the process isn’t the answer to his problems.
Ray Parlour echoes my sentiments, in a statement published by The Daily Mail.
‘He’s a good player, but he needs to say whether he’s staying or he’s going and then concentrate on his football.
‘All these contract talks can sometimes affect your game. He’s probably thinking more about money and less about his game.
‘It’s one of those situations where the player has got to be happy with what he’s got. I can never understand these wrangles over contracts.
‘Sure you have a figure in your head which you’re happy with and once that’s been agreed then it’s done. Whether Theo is holding his cards close to his chest and saying, “well, I’ve got one year left on my contract, I want £100,000 a week”, I don’t know.’
Enough about Walcott and his various shortcomings, what would his potential departure mean for the team? Really, not very much. Should he leave, don’t be surprised to see Santi Cazorla take a place on the wing, pending the return of Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky. Couple that with the fact that Lukas Podolski seems to have the left-wing locked down, and I see no issue in selling him in January for an inflated fee. I’d prefer that he would leave England, but the only reported teams to have registered an interest in the former Saint are Chelsea, City and Liverpool.
Slim pickings, that’s for sure, considering the three aforementioned clubs’ recent activity in the transfer market. Chelsea went on a buying spree with Abramovich loosening the purse strings as form of celebration. Liverpool have purchased a striker and a winger on top of Fabio Borini. City spent ridiculous money on Javi Garcia, Scott Sinclair and Maicon, among others. it’s a bit like the van Pursy saga wherein whoever came first got their man. With the summer gone, the market has cooled on Walcott, who will find his options few and far between come January, should a deal remain unsettled.
All in all, Walcott would be foolish to continue with his antics. Currently, he’s a well paid footballer who has a career under one of the best managers in the world. When fit, he’s always a contender for a starting place in a team that looks capable of challenging for silverware. He’s a full England international, and can only improve. Why throw away all the past hard work of his Arsenal career over exorbitant wages?
In short, don’t worry about Walcott. Either way, the Arsenal moves forward.