The Theo Walcott Saga by Vinay
The subject line says it all. The name brings in mixed emotions. Seven years it has been since a precocious teenager from Southampton at 15 was brought by Arsenal and what happened in the next 7 years is there for everyone to see. Theo Walcott, an enigma to say the least.
Now his contract extension is up for discussion and he has been making some loud noises, maybe we all need to have a reality check and ask ourselves, does he deserve to play for us? The easy answer would be yes, no one still has the same pace as he does in the team, last season he was our main assist contributor, had his highest goal tally and was one of the main reasons for the revival at the Emirates in that 5-2 classic against the spuds. Theo was supposed to have it all didn’t he? Pace, skill ability and composure. At the age of 18 he went to the World Cup, he was the hero when England beat Germany 5-1 at Munich and even now when rival left backs see him, they think twice before committing a tackle for he is that quick. So the question shouldnt have arrived if he should stay or not, right?? Wrong!
Theo is exasperating. In 7 years his awareness and ability to think on his feet hasn’t improved one bit. He may have moments in a game and thats about it. Where is the consistency? If his game borders on taking risks, then he needs to take calculated risks. He cant be a one-trick pony however good the trick (read pace) is! A defender maybe outpaced by him but they recover and know that most often than not his crosses defy logic. Does he care to look up when he crosses, i seriously have my doubts. Dont get me wrong i am not saying he is a bad player but the question is how long do we continue to wait for him to be a finished article. Again having waited for certain other players to become the player they can be (Song, RVP, Cesc nasri etc), all it took for those players was to offer a stupid explanation and leave. So we may continue to wait for Theo to take that one final step but once he does will he stay? The noises he is making dont seem to indicate so.
I want to play as central striker, i was promised that i will be played there. My instincts are of a striker blah blah blah. All fine Theo and yes your finishing is definitely good sometimes but again where is the consistency. Last season he had close to 7 one-on-ones against the goal keeper and missed all of them! His crucial finish against Udinese may have helped us win qualification to the main draw of the champions league but his misses in the league did cost us games as well. Reasons may have been there and he can very well say that if i am played regularly as a striker, my finishing will be better and i agree it can be. The whole point is does he fit in a lone striker. Arsenal will always play with a lone striker and Theo cant play that role. He cant hold up play nor can he be the target man upfront holding off defenders. We all know if our midfield gets crowded, those through balls will not be played at his feet for him to score, so the odds are stacked against him playing as a striker.
Finally even though he denies it, money is ‘apparently” a factor too, Demands include a 100k per week deal. My grouse against any player, except say a certain Ronaldo or Messi, is how can one demand things when they themselves cant guarantee anything? Even if Theo hasnt asked that kind of money, the fact is he cannot demand any things from the club. He should have an introspect and check what has he done to the club to demand things. How does he feel now when he doesn’t get a start?? Arsenal is not vindictive but Theo has been shown his place in no uncertain terms. If he feels he can play as a striker, then first things first he needs to play and show as to why he needs to be a part of this team. Honestly, if he is not there Arsenal have backups. Gerv, Ox, Rozza, and even Aaron can play right wing. They may not have his pace but they have guile and awareness much better than his. Theo Walcott and his agent may say they have a lot of offers and he will be welcome to any club he may go to, yes he might be, but then 7 years of what AFC waited for goes to dust is it? Prove your worth Theo and then talk.
Should Arsenal “request’ him to stay?; no. never. Its not a loss and we dont need to request any player anything. When we believed in him at a time when no one else did, we have all rights to tell him “take it or leave”. Theo Walcott can do what a lot of his former friends did, go out for greener pastures, but as they say the grass is never as green as it appears from the other side. So go on Theo do what you wish, we neither bother nor care, if you stay as well, you need to earn your place the hard way. You see greatness is not about big talk, its about walking the walk.