Where Does Theo Walcott’s Future At Arsenal Lie?


Theo Walcott has had a very up and down career at Arsenal. His ups have been superb. His clinical finishing has resulted in hefty goal tallies. He’s scored 67 goals for Arsenal with the capacity for many more.

And his downs? Injuries.

However, the speedy winger finds himself in a bit of a pickle as far as his Arsenal future is concerned. His team mates Francis Coquelin and Chuba Akpom have extended their Arsenal careers and Olivier Giroud re-signed in September. After the Giroud contract, reports were that Walcott was next.

That was in September.

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Here we are in March and suddenly it’s reminiscent of the last time Theo Walcott needed a contract and how long and drawn out that process was. We may be in for the same here.

But is it possible that Theo Walcott is preparing for a move?

After a supposed “altercation” with the fans after the Monaco debacle (via Daily Mail), it’s very possible that the would-be-striker, forced-to-be-winger is sick of the Emirates and ready to move on. But Walcott is no Lukas Podolski, broadcasting his feelings on Instagram, so his feelings on the club are purely speculation.

What isn’t purely speculation is his gross lack of playing time since returning from injury. Averaging just 44 minutes per game and having to watch Danny Welbeck suit up in front of him must be tearing at the inner mechanisms of Walcott’s mind, especially with him tallying three goals in those nine appearances.

Several factors have led to a sick feeling in my stomach that Walcott’s Arsenal career may indeed be winding down. Along with the lack of playing time, Theo Walcott has always wanted to be a striker, but that opportunity continues to elude him. When Giroud was seen as the only striker on the team, Arsene Wenger signed Danny Welbeck. When strikers were hurt, Alexis Sanchez would get the nod ahead of Walcott. He’s going to be a winger at Arsenal, whether he likes it or not.

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Another bit of an unnerving factor is Arsene Wenger’s recent statements about players unwillingness to defend. For those unaware, Theo Walcott rarely defends.

“You have to defend. All the players who can’t do that, cannot play.” Arsene Wenger stated (via ESPN UK). Not only that, but Wenger has blatantly called out Walcott, insisting that he’s at the age where he needs to step up.

“He is 25, and it’s the right age for him. It’s now that is decisive for his career” the Prof said of Walcott (per Telegraph).

But with Alexis Sanchez now an irreplaceable part of the squad, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back and Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla combining brilliantly, where exactly is Walcott supposed to succeed? Giving him 15-30 minute cameo appearances are only going to frustrate him and the fans.

Walcott is a supremely talented player. Arsene Wenger lauds him as a world-class talent and when he’s healthy, it’s impossible to deny. But keeping him healthy is the name of the game, and it’s a tough game to play. At 25 years of age, Wenger is right, Theo Walcott has to start contributing regularly. And with the lack of available starting spots in the squad, maybe parting ways with the Englishman is on Wenger’s mind.

So therein lies the question. Should Wenger cash in on Walcott while he’s near the peak of his value?

On the surface, the answer is a stoic ‘No!’ but if you dig deeper, it begs to be considered. As an Arsenal fan, you never want to condone the selling of someone so talented who’s been with the team for as long as Walcott has and who’s contributed as much as he has, but from a business standpoint, it makes sense. Walcott is hurt often, he’s losing playing time and he could fetch a pretty penny.

That being said, I am not into the business-aspect of world football. As an Arsenal supporter, I believe that the club should be loyal to the players if they expect players to be loyal to them.

Walcott deserves an extension, and I hope it’s coming soon.

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