Thoughts on Walcott, his Contract Situation and his Dramatic U-Turn
Humans are an insatiable lot.
We always want the best things for ourselves, especially when we pay for the best things. The satisfaction comes when we get our money’s worth for a commodity but we are quick to launch full-scale attacks when we feel we aren’t getting value for money. It’s logical.
Transferring this ideology to the football world, the average football fan has certain expectations that guides him to go through a lot from the team he supports. He buys official merchandise, pays for season tickets and other football related stuff but in return, he wants to see his team excel beyond expectations and this has to be done by the players on the pitch.
In a club like Arsenal, the expectations of the fans used to be very high with us aiming for the Premier League, the FA Cup and a respectable position in the Champions League. We treated the Carling Cup…Capitol One Cup like trash and used it as a platform to see our young Guns in action.
We had a team so strong, that the training ground was a Ludus while Arsene Wenger was the great Lanista, training gladiators that were going to give their blood and sweat to get three points.
This attitude coincided with a great spell of success for Wenger, as he notched up three league titles, four FA Cups and a host of others. I can remember the Arsenal squad that locked horns with their eternal rivals, Manchester United in 2004. Patrick Vieira was sent off after the ref buckled to Ruud van Nistelrooy’s trickery and the Dutchman had a chance to convert a spot kick late on. Ruud boy sent Lehmann the wrong way but his penalty slammed the crossbar and I don’t need to elaborate what happened next…
Arsene Wenger’s gladiators gave the cheat a piece of their minds in his home ground, and I saw van Nistelrooy running to the dressing room like a child that was bullied off his meal.
That was the Arsenal England and probably the world feared. Patrick Vieira’s influence, Gilberto’s calm, Robert Pires’ panache, Freddie Ljungberg’s canniness, Sol Campbell’s aggression, Jens Lehmann’s madness, Dennis Bergkamp’s godly technique and of course, Thierry Henry’s va va voom.
Eight years on, Arsenal has become a mere training centre, that broods talent ripe enough for the football world to pluck off with the enticing offer of a few quid here and there. A club once feared by many has become a laughing stock, as we the fans that could never settle for less in the yesteryear now take qualification to the Champions League as our holy grail.
Speaking of the Champions League, the draws take place today and we’ll brace ourselves up for another adventure as Arsene Wenger would start from scratch to play for the trophy that has evaded him as an Arsenal manager.
After seeing two midfield juggernauts in the form of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri leave the club, the fans were really shocked to see two integral players in the form of Robin van Persie and Alex Song follow suit. Unlike Fabregas and Nasri that did their fare share of flirting with the opposition before the club ultimately buckled, RvP and Song were footballers that were believed to have loved Arsenal through and through.
With the transfer window coming to a close, Arsenal shifted its focus to a player in that had a contract situation that needed some sorting out, the speedster himself, Theo Walcott. The winger is reaching the twilight of a £60,000 per week deal but a new £75,000 per week long-term contract was brought to the table. His agent had hoped to reach an agreement with the club over a contract worth £100,000 per week, but Arsenal was having none of that, so both parties reached a deadlock.
Giving Theo a contract worth £100,000 would make him the highest earner in Arsenal, which will put him above other key players like Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta, Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Wojciech Szczesny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, and Laurent Koscielny. Despite not being a better overall footballer than the players in the aforementioned list, Walcott still contributes immensely to the team and his stats are quite impressive, even if his footballing ability paints a different picture. In 222 games for Arsenal, he has scored 42 goals and supplied 40 assists.
In the wake of Walcott’s refusal to sign a new deal, the fans went haywire on Twitter and many were quick to point out his obvious flaws faster than Usain Bolt’s Olympic record. Many journos and bloggers voiced their opinions as well and a series of taunts were created as well,
‘Instead of running out of space on the pitch, you’re now running out of time Theo, what are you going to do? It’s your move. Will you remember to take the ball with you this time?’ – Lady Arse
‘In 6 year and 200+ games for the club, he’s hardly improved beyond what we saw when he was 16. He’s been a massive flop. His control is substandard, his vision is pretty worthless and he can’t run with his head up. He gets by on pace and pace alone.’ – Pedro of Le Grove ‘
I believe that it would be excellent business if Arsenal received £15 million for him. I do not think that he has lived up to the reputation that preceded him and certainly do not think he is deserving of a higher salary.’ – Aman Pattar of Football Transfer Tavern
I wonder how these great writers waxed lyrical and ran out of superlatives for Walcott when he made that long dash in San Siro (2008) to supply that through ball to Adebayor against AC Milan, when he slotted in that magnificent chip in the 3-0 win over Villarreal (2009), when he came off to the bench to run half the length of the field before squaring for Arshavin to put Arsenal 4–3 up against Liverpool in the 91st minute, although the match finished 4–4 (2009), when he saved Arsenal’s bacon against Barcelona in that 2-2 draw (2010), when he played a vital role in helping Arsenal in the play-offs last season and the list goes on.
Walcott is a vital player for Arsenal but the way we’ve treated him in the wake of his refusal to sign a new deal is uncalled for. Even if we manage to ship him out to Manchester City for the proposed £15m, what’s the assurance that Arsenal is going to purchase a new winger?
With Ryo Miyaichi out on loan in Wigan, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho remain the only contenders for Walcott’s place in the team. The Ox’s potential is very massive and under Wenger’s tutelage, he’s tipped for great things. Gervinho on the other hand is like an enigma, as his consistency levels are no different (or even worse) than Walcott.
After reaching a verbal agreement with his manager, Theo Walcott looks set to stay at the Emirates,
“It is all speculation. Negotiations are ongoing. Arsene Wenger and Theo Walcott had a heart-to-heart talk on Wednesday and both parties are committed to proceeding with a new contract.
The player will not be sold before the end of the transfer deadline.”
It was reported earlier that Arsenal had given the winger an ultimatum to sign a new deal or to be sold, a bit of info that club was quick to refute.
There’s a risk on Walcott doing a Flamini on the club, but the least he could do will be to contribute to the team’s cause this season, then we’ll see what the future has in store for us concerning this newly-erupted saga.
It’s not a greyhound, it’s not a cheetah, it’s Theo Walcott.
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