We’ve become accustomed nowadays to Arsenal selling their best players. Whilst it was disappointing to see Robin Van Persie leave the Emirates last season, it wasn’t really a surprise.
He was simply doing what many others before him had done. The list includes: Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and even goes back to Ashley Cole. Money talks, but their absences often give the appearance of fleeing from a sinking ship.
If Arsenal are as serious about delivering success as they claim to be (though their obsession with profit margins seem to suggest otherwise) they can’t afford to keep letting go of their best players.
And like it or not, Theo Walcott is now up there with Arsenal’s very best.
Yes, this reflects a little poorly on Arsenal. Theo is a player with basically no technical ability. He’s never going to pirouette past a player, or flick the ball up onto the back of his neck and do a somersault over a defender. But he’s got enough in his bag to make him a frightening proposition for defenders.
His breakneck pace means he is nigh on impossible to keep up with and once he’s through on goal, his finishing ability sees him find the back of the net on more occasions than one.
Against Reading on Tuesday, he was able to showcase all his best assets. That game was tailor made for Theo. It was stretched to within an inch of its life, ensuring Theo could use his pace to assert some dominance. It was also bonkers, and completely free of logic.
Players weren’t provided with any time to dawdle on the ball. They had to react on an instinctive level. This helped Theo avoid over-thinking, allowing him play his best stuff.
Without his fire-power upfront, Arsenal would have been lost. Having watched Arsenal struggle against Norwich City, Schalke and QPR, you get the feeling that things would have been different with Theo Walcott’s input.
With that in mind, it’s time to stop playing coy and get him to agree a new contract. Arsenal can’t afford to lose him this January or in the Summer. But we’ve seen the profits they’ve posted – they can afford to give him a pay-rise. If he wants to play upfront more, so be it – it looks like he’s cut out for the role.
Arsenal can’t just keep chopping and changing. It’s time to stick with Theo and let him prove what he can do.
What’s your take? How should Arsenal handle Theo’s contract situation?
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