Maybe Wenger has a Point on the Walcott Case
We are approaching the halfway point of the season and there has been a lot to reflect on as the campaign progresses. On the pitch, the fans have witnessed hot and cold performances from their darling Arsenal and some players have excelled while others have struggled.
Off the pitch, a lot of issues need addressing and one can look no further than the Theo Walcott contract situation that has been a thorn in Arsenal’s flesh. This is a somewhat familiar road for Arsenal but it seems as if money isn’t the issue (I don’t believe that though!).
Stanley Maduka or @Stanley_93, as he’s known on Twitter, is a massive Gooner that has been with the club since the days Chuck Norris ruled Hollywood with his unbelievable action films. Stanley has decided to share his take on Walcott’s situation so sit back, and enjoy the article.
Wow! What a game we had in the Capital One Cup, you know the one am on about.
Just like many fans, I had to pay homage to the best Arsenal come back I have ever seen. This game just topples the 3 – 0 come back performed by the invincible against Middlesbrough in the Premier League which ended 5 – 3.
Our star man was undoubtedly Theo Walcott and I am sure you would agree even though other players put in surprising shifts such as Andrey Arshavin, Thomas Elsfeld, Olivier Giroud (Who we all know is quality) and our long lost Moroccan, Marouane Chamakh, Walcott had a game to remember, having started and ended our come back, scoring late in both halves.
Many fear we could lose him to Chelsea and Liverpool supposedly interested with his contract running out in the summer. Despite his shortcomings, Walcott is a good player and getting a player of his quality for basically nothing will be one hell of a bargain for any club.
Arsenal’s No. 14 has claimed that the issue with his contract renewal is due to the manager not assuring him a place in the striking department rather than the winger he is currently deployed as. If that is the case, why isn’t Wenger giving him the green light especially with his goals and good performances? It should be an easy decision after his game at Reading as he totally made his case and the fans happen to share the same view.
Before I continue, I would like to state that I fall into the faction of Arsenal fans that would like to see Walcott as a striker and Wenger recently admitted so himself. So does that mean the contract issue will be resolved soon? Only time will tell.
Wenger’s reluctance got me wandering why a man who has improved immensely with his finishing, off the ball movement, positioning, first touch and other attacking attributes is not assured playing time in a role he felt he could be his best at or was it just another French lunacy?
Just like a hatter, it is hard to know what Le Boss has in mind but I found answers which quenched my curiosity and seem ‘Wenger like’. As we know, Wenger won’t promise a player playing time knowing such promises can’t be kept in order to avoid dealing with an unhappy player down the line and here are some probable reasons behind it.
During the summer transfer window, two strikers in the form of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud were acquired even though the former is used out of his natural position as opposed to the left wing which he currently plays. Why buy such a quality striker and put him on the wings? Well, we all have to agree that he has contributed heavily to the team as he uses his unrivalled work rate in balancing both attack and defence.
Podolski has recently voiced his frustrations and like Walcott, he has stated he wants to play as the main man upfront. In his debut against Sunderland, Podolski started the game as the center forward and was a peripheral player on the pitch. He actually found a new lease of life in his Arsenal career when he was drafted into the left wing – a position where his four goals have come from thus far this season.
This issue of players grumbling to play in other positions against their manager’s wish is somewhat troubling. While Walcott and more recently, Podolski, are busy whining to play in the center forward role currently occupied by their teammate, Giroud, what would they say about other Gunners that are still struggling to get into the first team?
Everyone thought that the sale of Alex Song would either allow Wenger to buy another holding midfielder (Cheick Tiote was heavily linked, I remember) or give Francis Coquelin a chance to excel in the first team. However, the gaffer opted for the experienced Mikel Arteta that currently plays a somewhat similar role to Pep Guardiola in his playing days.
Arteta, a once established attacking midfielder, now plays the pivotal role in linking both defence and midfield. This was a role played by Song last season and our Spanish man has gladly welcomed the change saying “it was for the benefit of the team”.
Walcott and Podolski need to learn from Arteta.
You might be getting where I am headed to, maybe Walcott might be of more use to the team if he sticks with Wenger and plays on the wings. I know what you are thinking; he’s inconsistent, has poor-decision making and couldn’t put in a decent cross to save his life.
That might be wrong considering his performance this season.
Of course, we all agree he has been one of our best performers and has any of that come from playing as a striker?
I do not think so and yes, he does drift to that center forward position. This simply means that he needs to get more involved in attack rather than rigidly sticking to the wing and becoming a one-trick pony (like Antonio Valencia) who wants to reach the by-line by all means and put the ball into the box.
It was good seeing the Reading defenders pulling back as Walcott approached as they weren’t sure if he would run past or move inside as he did most of the match. There was some form of fluidity to his game.
Maybe Walcott can adopt similar roles to the likes of football demigods, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In Madrid, CR7 scores majority of the goals (164 goals in 160 game, amazing!!) for Los Merengues but you never see Jose Mourinho remove Karim Benzema or Gonzalo Higuian as strikers for Ronaldo. In Barcelona, the fluidity of the team allows the gaffer to play Lionel Messi, Pedro Rodriguez, Alexis Sanchez, David Villa or those kids from their Mutant La Masia Academy at any of the attacking positions.
We know who the better player is but maybe their managers don’t do so for separate reasons. They both play down the flanks but they get central to become more involved in the game. Some call them out and out strikers and sometimes are given a free role… A few changes and Walcott might be perfect for this role?
Finally, we all heard Wenger was after Mirallas who he failed to get as he opted out for Everton due to playing time. With more than £35 million in his war chest, rumors are that Adrian Lopez and Llorente are on his radar.
So in reality, there might not be playing time in the striker role for Walcott if another top striker is bought and if Wenger did have to choose among Podolski, a proven striker with a class finish or Giroud, a hard-working striker with good aerial abilities which help in both attacking and defending.
I really doubt Walcott will be first on the list to spearhead our attack seeing our 4-2-3-1 formation.
Is it the lack of playing time in his preferred position or lack of resource to agree to his wage demand? Either way, he needs to be wrapped up in time for Christmas before our rivals start keying in their estimated values for our potential striker.
I do hope Wenger fits him to the best of the team as that is what comes first. Should Wenger let the man have what he wants?
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