Give Theo a go!

The big news coming out of Arsenal at the moment appears to be the recent interview conducted with contract ‘rebel’ Theo Walcott.

As everyone knows, the winger has just one year left on his current deal with the Gunners and that he would be free to walk out of the Emirates Stadium for nothing come the summer of 2013.

The England international is a player who divides the opinion of most Gooners. Some see him as lacking a football brain and not being up to the Arsenal standard, whereas others feel that Theo has a lot to offer and is a very dangerous player.

Regardless, Walcott has been talking about his situation and insists that money isn’t the motive when it comes to his contract discussions.

“You have to ask the manager [why I haven’t signed a new contract]. It’s his decision,” Walcott said. “In the summer I had opportunities to leave but I didn’t want to go and I have never said I wanted to go.

“I’ve always wanted to be an Arsenal player and hopefully something can be sorted. It is going to take time, my last contract took over six months to happen and it is one of those things where you just have to be patient. It is going to take time.

“It has never been a money situation, I am not that sort of player. I have always made decisions about football. If it had been about money I would have gone in the summer. I love Arsenal and I love playing with my teammates and hopefully something can be sorted and I can get back in that team and get a chance to play up front.”

His passion for the club is clear, and we hear from ‘inside sources’ all the time that Walcott genuinely loves Arsenal and wants to say which is exactly what you want to hear.

He seems like he actually means it, he went through a hard time at the beginning of his career when he went to the World Cup in 2006. He got so much stick for it even though he had done nothing wrong, but the Gunners faithful got behind him and supported him and he seems to have remembered that.

So if money isn’t the main factor then what is?

Well we’ve heard it before and, doing his best impression of a broken record, Walcott once again reiterated his desire to play as a striker.

“[The] main factor for me is I want to start playing up front now. It’s the main one for me.

“I remember when Thierry (Henry) joined at 22, the legend he was.

“Hopefully I can be the legend was as well, in that up front position.”

That’s certainly a big statement from Theo but, Henry status aside, I think he has a point.

Where is the harm in giving Walcott a chance up front?

Of course as a youngster coming into the team he was going to be pushed out to the wing. Someone of his youth, size and speed was always going to be put into a wide position.

But Walcott made his debut for the Gunners six years ago, back in August 2006 in the first competitive match at our new home against Aston Villa and has matured since then.

I can remember playing as a centre forward once before I think, against Newcastle United in the League Cup two years ago. I’m sure we scored four and Theo at least got one.

I really don’t think there would be any harm in moving him up front.

We’re crying out for a little, nippy striker that can latch on to through balls, and Walcott could be just that. He could even play in a front two if we wanted in a ‘little  ‘n’ large’ style partnership with Olivier Giroud.

Give him a few games and I think he’d be alright, with his pace can you imagine the damage he could do with Santi Cazorla pulling the strings?

For the sake of both the club and the player I think we should at least try it. In my books it’s a win-win.

Either it works, the club fills a void and Walcott gets his wish. Or it fails, and we don’t try it again and then maybe Walcott will reconsider his views.

But why not?

Matt Cotton

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