Arsenal’s wily-winger Theo Walcott, put in a quintessential Walcott performance on Wednesday night as the Gunner’s took on relegation threatened Wolves at the Molineux. It began with a scintillating ten minute spell where Theo won a penalty and then scored a goal and ended with a further 60+ minutes of complete ineffectualness.
All-in-all it was a weird performance from the entire team. The Gunner’s found themselves in the unusual position of having the game won 10 minutes in as Wolves were trailing by two goals and down to ten men and they responded accordingly. All the urgency dropped from Arsenal’s performance. In turn, knowing that the game was lost, Wolves slipped into damage-limitations mode and stuck two banks of four in front of the waves of Arsenal attacks.
Theo suffered as a result, but you get the feeling that most players would have done the same.
All of which preamble brings me to another more pressing question: why haven’t Arsenal’s top-brass tied Theo down to a new contract?
According to (bastion of truth) Goal.com the club has imposed an £80k a week ceiling on Theo’s new deal bringing talks to a standstill. It’s also believed that Walcott, who’s currently on £60k a week wants a 66% pay-bump and a new £100k a week salary before he agrees to any new terms.
It’s hard to tell where the truth lies in this situation – but there are certain things that we do know for sure. Theo’s contract will (like Robin Van Persie’s) run out in the summer 2013 and as of yet there’s no indication whether or not negotiations are going well. It’s also true that the longer Arsenal wait the more negotiating power he has.
I think that so many fans and media outlets have focused on RVP’s contract-wrangling that Theo’s situation hasn’t had the kind of coverage it should have.
Theo’s now 23-years-old and if the latter half of this season is anything to go by he has finally started to realise his potential. The signs are there that there’s more to him than just pace. Not only can he beat a man, but he can also deliver an effective cross or take the ball on and score for himself like he has done recently against QPR and Wolves. He has his best years directly ahead of him and Arsenal should certainly be looking to tie him down.
With 14 months left on his deal, it’s crunch-time. I’m not exactly certain that he’s a £100k a week player, but perhaps there’s scope for offering him a £80-90k a week salary with plenty of options and bonuses with an aim to rewarding good performances. Not only will this provide Theo with the motivation to perform regularly but it may also get him to agree new terms.
What’s your take? Should Arsenal break the bank for Theo’s new contract or is he not a priority?
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