Theo Walcott has become quite a sensitive topic over the last few years amongst Arsenal supporters.
Understandably so, he’s our longest serving player in the current squad, the highest goalscorer among the current squad (historically) and one of the highest earners.
The growing dislike for Theo Walcott among Arsenal supporters stems from the drawn out contract negotiations he tends to have with the club. A few demands which becomes an internal saga and results in him getting what many feel he doesn’t deserve.
This is similar to United supporters’ opinions on Wayne Rooney in recent years, many dislike him and want him pushed out the XI whilst other still hold sentiment and demand more respect for a legend. Rooney, just like Walcott always seems to get what he wants in the end.
Wayne earned himself the captaincy, became one of the highest-paid players in the world and saw off major threats to his position against the likes of Van Persie, Falcao, Hernandez, Berbatov etc… although it annoys a section of the United support you could at least say it’s half justified.
Let’s face it, he’s not far off being United’s all-time leading scorer, he’s won numerous titles, a Champions League and has performed in countless big games for United, most notably against ourselves.
Now Theo seems to have the same pull with the board but with far less achievements, talent and influence, why?
We’re looking at 10 years now that Walcott has been here for and what has he actually done? You’d expect him to be on 100 goals for us by now although he’s not far Pires got 84 in 6 seasons. Walcott has only won 2 FA Cups with us too.
What annoys me most about Theo’s situation is that he’s still treated like a project, even at 27 years old. “Potential, potential, potential” He’s in his prime years, late 20’s and is heavily reliant on movement and speed. The next couple of years are going to be very decisive for him.
His drawn out negotiations prevented us in getting a CF in the summer. There was no chance Wenger planned initially to have Theo ‘£140,000k-a-week’ Walcott on the bench with another big earning striker.
Walcott is a clever bloke he knows how to time his contractual sagas, he says all the right things about where Arsenal need to be, he tries to mind-trick Wenger to the media when he states how Özil needs movement in front of him or how him and Alexis have a great understanding. Everything revolves around his best interests
Personally I wouldn’t sell Theo Walcott, I think he’s a dangerous weapon to have. He’s one of the more reliable scorers at the club but I think he needs to be a backup/impact player from now and predominantly played as a wide-forward where he’s found his most success throughout his Arsenal career.
He’s useful as a striker in specific games but he’s not a striker and never will be. A top striker is essential this summer with Giroud/Welbeck as backup and Theo being immediate wide backup as well as 3rd/4th choice striker makes sense.
The only issue is if he has an issue. If so, then would be the time to sell. The club can’t keep letting someone so limited in ability keep getting his way and preventing us from fulfilling our potential.
If Walcott’s Arsenal career ended right now I think he’d have to look back on it and consider it underwhelming to say the least.
Henry achieved greatness in 8 years, RVP may not have won much but statistically he ranks very high in Arsenal’s record books. Walcott has achieved little in a decade and considering all the investment Wenger has put into his career it’s resulted in near failure.
It never takes Arsène this long to figure out the best path for his young players, he’s still working out Theo’s who is no longer young.
There will always be doubt about whether Walcott/Rooney fulfilled their true potential or whether they were just overhyped but Rooney will certainly look back at his career with greater satisfaction than Walcott will.