If Theo Walcott Continues to do Nothing, Why Would Arsenal Re-sign Him?


Theo Walcott had another golden opportunity to remind Arsenal of what he can do for this team. He came on in the 100th minute against Reading and with a pitch full of exhausted individuals and one of the fastest wingers in England emerging with fresh legs, one could have expected fireworks.

Instead, what we got was a magic act, as Theo Walcott yet again disappeared – or never really appeared (which is less magical than a disappearance I suppose).

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Theo Walcott played the final 20 minutes against Reading at a time when he should have been able to rampage up and down the pitch. However, he managed only nine touches and six completed passes, and his only real moment where I noticed him was a clearance (stats via WhoScored.com). Arsenal had plenty of attacking chances in those last 20 minutes and I don’t recall a single contribution from Theo Walcott.

My question is why are we in such a hurry to sign him if he’s continuously so ineffective? And I think I’ll go ahead and answer that question myself, if you don’t mind. Not long ago I covered how the maintaining of Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky showed an immense degree of loyalty to their players by Arsenal. While it doesn’t really make sense from a footballing standpoint and I fully believe Arsenal is the only club that would ever do such a thing, this loyalty for past successes is really inspiring.

For that reason, I think Theo Walcott is being given a bit of the red carpet treatment. In the past, the speedy winger has been absolutely clinical and crucial in Arsenal’s successes. He has excellent finishing abilities, speed to kill for and he times his runs perfectly. Despite not defending much and being unable to adjust to Arsenal’s new style thus far, he’s still got plenty to offer at just 26 years old.

BBC Sports indicates that Arsene Wenger is confident that Theo Walcott will stay. The Prof rarely lets his feelings be known, but apparently his Theo Walcott feelings were urgent enough to speak out about, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. While senior players like Rosicky and Arteta can be given a bit of the celebrity treatment, Walcott is in the prime of his career and failing to impress at the peak of Arsenal’s recent successes. 

Again, he has been fantastic in the past, but this is a new Arsenal and he just hasn’t adjusted. I would much rather prefer Arsene Wenger not coming out and reminding Theo Walcott that he’s wanted so badly at Arsenal. Make him earn his place a little bit. I understand that may sound presumptuous given Walcott’s fantastic track record but as far as practicality is concerned, he just hasn’t adjusted and his contract negotiations are always a headache.

I am a huge fan of Theo Walcott. I really am. He has been an absolute joy to watch in the past and I still love his reaction on the stretcher when coming off the pitch at Tottenham. He has fantastic qualities, loves the team and can still contribute massively to Arsenal’s success. But Arsene Wenger is doing him no favors by talking about how much he wants to keep him at the club. If anything, it’ll make the Englishman even more complacent than he already appears to be.

Despite a brief scoring streak when he came back from injury, Walcott has had a year to forget. The problem with that is timing. He’s going to want a new contract this summer or he’s going to look elsewhere and if we’re basing his signability on this year, he hasn’t earned it, and I’d rather see him have to prove himself a bit next year. But that’s not exactly realistic.

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It’s a tough situation. I want to see Theo Walcott stay because of all he’s done and all he can do, but at the same time, if he isn’t going to contribute and isn’t going to adjust, then wouldn’t we be better off seeking a new winger elsewhere (perhaps like Memphis Depay)?

Even without going after another winger, it’s not like Arsenal have a shortage. Alexis Sanchez has the left flank locked down and Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck and even Santi Cazorla have shown that right wing can be their home. Wellington Silva and Serge Gnabry should be in the mix soon as well. Losing Theo Walcott (while I in no way wish for that) would not be as debilitating to the club as you’d think.

It all comes down to Arsene Wenger, and as has been my habit, I will put my faith in him. He spends a bit more time with the Arsenal players than I, so he’s the expert.

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