The news of two new deals for Arsenal must have been received with mixed enthusiasm by the supporters; a mix of good and bad. Good, because, these deals are for those two players who are linked with interest from other clubs. But, there is nothing more to be happy about because we are not talking about any new incomings. The deals are to the unsettled pair of Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott.
Arsene Wenger was all gushing about the new contracts to the two players, who he believes to be central to his plans. “Both are top-quality players who are hugely important and influential to our squad,” said Wenger.
It would be a little misleading to say Cazorla was unsettled at the club. The 30-year-old Spaniard was one of the best players last season. Once he was moved into the central role, he showed glimpses of his silky play. To be frank to his exploits last season, Wenger is convinced that Cazorla solved the problem of his central midfield role for the new season.
However, his performance on the pitch didn’t go unnoticed. La Liga team Atletico Madrid was interested in getting him back to Spain. So, when the news that the new deal is yet to be offered to the maestro is out, there were slight concerns that he could be part of a bid. All those can now be put to rest.
Walcott’s condition is a little closer to being ‘unsettled’. The England international missed most part of the last year due to injury. That didn’t stop clubs prying over the fact that he could be moving into the final year of his deal.
At the beginning of the transfer window, there were rumours that Liverpool would be interested in a swap deal involving Walcott and Raheem Sterling. But, that was when Wenger was interested in the MerseySide winger. Being as prudent as he ever was, Wenger decided to distance himself from the inflated price of Sterling.
The 26-year-old Walcott was snatched by Wenger – snatched because there were many interested parties – from Southampton in 2006 at a price of around £12.5 million. He has scored 50 league goals in 208 appearances for the Gunners and is expected to be an important player this season. It will be surprising to know that Walcott is Arsenal’s longest-serving active player. And there is no doubt that he got a handsome package to extend his contract.
Supporters can now only hope that Walcott can remain injury-free and show that he can move to the next level with his performances. With Cazorla, that is never a problem.