With Theo Walcott’s refusal to renew his contract, his Arsenal career hangs in the balance. Walcott has been quick to dismiss claims he is after a more lucrative offer from the Gunners, who have already offered him a reported £75K a week deal.
Walcott claims it’s not the money that’s in question but rather his position on the field – Theo wants to be a striker.
This may come as a surprise to the majority of fans who have likely never seen Walcott play as striker. Having spent his entire career to date utilized as a winger, Walcott clearly fancies himself the next Thierry Henry which, strangely enough, was exactly who he was compared to when Arsene Wenger signed him from Southampton in 2006 for £9million.
However, since then comparisons to his former Arsenal teammate have subsided and Walcott has failed to make the grade consistently at the Emirates, or for England.
Theo can scores goals - 27 them for Arsenal in 153 games – but whilst his speed often sees him leaving full backs for dead on the half way line, he’s just as often found dribbling his way into the corner flag, or misfiring a cross into an empty box.
Walcott has divided opinion with Arsenal fans – no one can argue with his potential but as the seasons have passed by the now 23-year-old Walcott has failed to really progress to the next level – indicated by his bench and sub appearances for England at last summer’s Euro 2012 where he was somewhat outshone by Arsenal’s new ‘boy wonder’ – a tricky 18-year-old winger from Southampton – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Theo Walcott’s now infamous “consistency in patches” and apparent lack of a “football brain” has left Gunners’ fans somewhat underwhelmed – I personally have been at Emirates when he scored a hat trick against Blackpool but I have also been at the Emirates when he’s been a bit, well, anonymous.
I do believe that when Arsene Wenger signed Walcott he really did intend to convert him into a striker eventually, in the model of Thierry Henry. The fact, however, that that hasn’t happened, and Wenger even went out and bought both Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud this summer, qualifies my belief that Walcott is not (yet) capable of playing as a lone striker, never mind filling the boots of Robin van Persie.
The Arsenal manager faces a dilemma in January – if Walcott fails to sign, he will have to be sold – or he will become another Arsenal ‘striker’ holding the club to ransom.