by ‘Ifreke Inyang
Reports on Tuesday, indicated that Theo Walcott and the London club, could not find an agreement over his new contract. The stories also had it that Wenger had given the English winger an ultimatum of 34 to 48 hours to sign or be shipped out. For Arsenal fans, it is the same familiar depressing feeling again. One of the first names on Arsene Wenger’s team sheet is about to leave the club. Or isn’t it?
Well, here are four reasons I think Arsenal can allow him leave the club:
1. Walcott can be frustratingly inconsistent. From the year Wenger took him from Southampton, as a starry-eyed 16-year-old, the forward has continued to live in a bubble of hype. And it is perplexing that seven years later, much of the promise he showed earlier on has not been fulfilled. According to stats from whoscored.com, 45 Premier League players attempted at least 100 crosses last year and Walcott was the least accurate, finding a teammate less than one in seven times. That, basically says it all.
2. Wenger should continue with his new trend of showing players, who do not want to play for the club the door. Before Van Persie departed for the Euros, he had a private meeting with the manager and Ivan Gazidis. In the course of their conversation, the Dutchman made it clear that he didn’t share with the vision of the club anymore and would not sign a new deal. Wenger promptly moved into the market and purchased Lukas Podolksi and Olivier Giroud. Eventually, he had the last laugh, milking a lot of money from Manchester United for his skipper.
3. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a much better footballer than Theo Walcott. Although he is much younger, he has a better first touch, maximises his pace and strength well and like most people will agree, essentially has a footballing brain. Yes, Wenger sees Chamberlain’s future in the centre of midfield, but if Walcott is sold, he can be given another season to develop his game on the wings.
On the other hand, here are three reasons why Arsenal should keep him:
1. Every other summer, the maximum number of star players that have packed their bags, has been two. Gunners all over the world might have thought the quota has been reached this year, after the departures of Robin van Persie and Alex Song. But alas, we have another potential saga on our hands. It is vital that Wenger convinces him to stay, so it doesn’t upset the balance and spirit in the team.
2. On his day, Walcott is not just a speed demon, but mesmeric flying winger. With a lethal mix of pace, balance and technique, the 23-year-old can cause the opposition’s defence, all sorts of trouble. And he did so to great effect last season, forming a good telepathy with Van Persie.
3. In some way, it will be bad business for Arsenal. Walcott is just 23 and has the potential to become a great player. The club might get rid of him for around £12m to £15m now, but his value could rise to £30m in a few years.