In January 2013 when Theo Walcott had 6 months remaining before he was free to speak to other clubs, he signed a new deal worth £100,000 a week, making him the highest paid player at the club.
Previous to the latest deal he was on £55,000 a week, and as well as a hefty paid rise he also received a £3 million bonus for staying “loyal”. Ahem.
You could say he took advantage of Arsenal’s poor situation at the time – we were bedding in new signings such as Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla at a time when we were still affected by the loss of Robin van Persie.
Before January 2013, Arsene had opted to mainly use Theo Walcott as a substitute while the protracted transfer talks stalled. He had been offered £80,000 and £90,000 during negotiations, but declined them both. He was in a very strong position and rightly or wrongly, managed to engineer a deal which was beyond his worth. Arsene wanted him to sign a 5 year deal worth £90,000 a week, while Theo Walcott ended up getting a 3 and a half year deal worth £100,000 a week.
Fast forward 24 months, and the situation has completely changed.
We are at exactly the same position yet again – Arsenal and Theo Walcott are trying to negotiate a new deal but the pacy forward holds a completely different hand these days. Whereas 2 years ago he held a royal flush, now he holds a pair. A pair of 2’s.
He’s been injured for lengthy periods and hasn’t been worth his £100,000 a week by a long shot. Also in that time Olivier Giroud has improved and become Arsenal’s most important attacker. We’ve also brought in Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez, two truly world class forwards. In essence, Walcott’s absence has hardly been noticed.
Arsene Wenger has come out and publicly stated that while Theo is “quick on the pitch, he’s not necessarily quick when it comes to contract negotiations”. And if that wasn’t spiky enough for you, Theo has had to come out and deny a “bust up” with Arsene Wenger.
Clearly the current position is this – Arsene feels Walcott and his representatives held Arsenal over a barrel 2 years ago and would rather offload the striker now rather than increase a wage he feels is already undeserved. Arsene also holds all the aces as in terms of the squad and team he’s on the periphery. The sad fact for Theo is that basically, we don’t actually need him.
The team is on a great run of form and we’ve done it without Walcott. And in that run, one of the games we lost was at Tottenham when arguably, Walcott was culpable for their winning goal when he failed to close down the cross.
Look, I like Theo and on his day he is effective. He can finish when given the chances but his game is limited – in a sense he’s similar to Lukas Podolski. He came from the same academy that created Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gareth Bale, but has stalled whereas the aforementioned players have progressed (in varying degrees). Theo Walcott is only 25 years old but on the graph of progress should be at his peak right now. He can’t help the team defend and the quality of his passing is sporadic.
And I can’t see where he fits in the current team.
The inconsistency in his performances is baffling to me. Putting all the contract issues aside, on his day he is fantastic, no doubt about it. If you look on YouTube at a compilation of his goals and you think this guy is a world class player – poise, pace and deadly finishing. If he managed to perform at his top level week in week out, he’d be on a par with Gareth Bale.
But he isn’t. While Bale’s market value is around £80 million (apparently), you could only see Walcott fetching around £25 million max.
So, the bottom line is would you sell Theo Walcott? Cast your vote below!