Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have heard that Theo Walcott has signed a new deal with Arsenal. His current (well, previous) contract was due to expire in the summer which would have meant he could have left on a free to the highest bidder. Reportedly, Liverpool and Chelsea were leading the chase for the speedy 23 year old.
But quite surprisingly, yesterday Arsenal confirmed he signed a new deal.
He rejected a 5 year deal worth £75,000 per week and stalled on signing a new contract until this weekend, which is a 3 year deal worth £100,000 per week, which makes him our highest paid player. For his “loyalty” as well, he was rewarded with a £3 million “signing-on bonus”.
So all the speculation (for now) about Theo leaving will finally be over. But how do you feel about the way it has been handled, what Theo did and whether it was worth it?
There is no doubt Theo is a talented player, who on his day can be devastating. His pace is unrivalled and his finishing (and crossing) has improved greatly. But he still has the same flaws - namely that when put against intelligent and experienced defenders - he struggles.
Against lower league opposition he can be a major handful. But as shown against Manchester City last weekend, he was hugely ineffective. And we still don’t know where Arsene is thinking of playing him.
His refusal to sign a new deal over the last few months has brought up another problem, which is where he wants to play. Comparisons to Thierry Henry have been banded about but Titi was on another level - he was special and one of the greatest players to have ever graced the game, never mind Arsenal Football Club. Regular readers will know that one of the biggest annoyances I have is they Thierry never won the World Player of the Year. That being said, Theo is not in the same league.
With the ball in behind he is pretty much unstoppable. But strikers need more than electric pace and finishing, they need to hold the ball up and be able to compete in the air sometimes. That’s why Theo should concentrate on developing his game from wide positions where his pace can be used to greater effect.
But then Arsene could solve this by scrapping the 4-3-3 system and going back to a 4-4-2. That would please Theo by allowing him to play up top and give him a partner to play off, like Giroud. I can’t see why that wouldn’t happen and it would give us much better balance in the side. Our best sides have always played 4-4-2. Cazorla and Oxlade-Chamberlain are quick, skilful and intelligent enough to be like Bobby and Freddie on the wings and Arteta and Wilshere in the middle would be a hell of a central midfield pairing.
But without wanting to drift away from the topic too much, now that Arsene has pinned Theo down to a 3 year contract, we can start concentrating on developing our first eleven and matters on the pitch.
Now that Theo has committed to Arsenal (and is “like a new signing”) it might be worth actually going out and making some actual signings to strengthen our squad.
Is Theo deserving of being our highest paid player? Is he our best player? I don’t know how much Jack and The Ox are on but I’m pretty sure it’s peanuts compared to what Theo is now on. If anyone has details on what wages our players are on I would be interested in knowing!