Why Selling Theo Walcott Would Be A Smart Move For Arsenal
Silly season is nearly upon us once more, and all Gooners will be hoping to see a lot more activity during this summer’s window than we did 12 months ago. However, in addition to recruiting new talent, it’s inherent that Arsene Wenger needs to think about shifting some of the dead wood; in my opinion, Theo Walcott should be first out of the Emirates exit door.
Media outlets have strongly linked the England man with a potential £25m move to West Ham United this summer. Football Whispers, the world’s first transfer predictor, picked up the rumour several weeks ago too, suggesting that there could be genuine substance behind the potential switch. If a bid does materialise, it would be criminal to turn down.
I’ll concede that it’s difficult to dislike Walcott. Having signed from Southampton back in 2006, the 27-year-old has given us a decade of service, making him one of the club’s longest servants in living memory. Furthermore, it’s impossible not to sympathise with the combination of injuries and need to sit patient for his chance. On the other hand, fans have had to sit patiently too. After 10 years without any real reward, time has simply run out.
In spells, Walcott has been unplayable. There have been several occasions over the past decade where it’s looked like he’d reach the heights that so many people projected when he first signed. Alas, the stats don’t lie: Walcott has reached double figures in the league just once. For a supposedly top player at a top club, it simply isn’t good enough.
Both the manager and the fans demand consistent quality from the team. Walcott simply hasn’t delivered. A decade down the line, it’s still difficult to label the No.14. Is he a winger? Is he a striker?
Either way, he’s not a regular starter. And he’s certainly not worth keeping if a bid in excess of £20m arrives.
A return of 80 goals in a decade is pretty poor, and it looks even worse when you take into account that 21 were registered during his solitary solid campaign of 2012/13. The fact that a string of England managers have been hesitant to make him a genuine starter gives further credence to the notion that he isn’t a player of the standard needed to fire Arsenal back to the top. After all, challenging for league titles and European trophies is where the Gunners belong.
A sizeable weekly wage packet needs to be taken into consideration too. For a reported £140,000 a week, you’d want an indispensable star attraction. Right now, young Alex Iwobi looks a far more promising prospect for next season on the right. Meanwhile, an inability to operate as a lone striker places the England man behind Oliver Giroud in the attacking pecking order too. Given the fact that a world-class striker will be top of the summer shopping list, it’s hard to envisage any situation where Walcott could vindicate either his salary or the continued faith.
Admittedly, his pace will always make him a threat from the bench. But that cannot be considered enough to keep him. Of course, it’s great to have options, especially against tired legs. However, there’s plenty of raw speed available through Iwobi and other academy graduates. Besides, for all the perceived improvements in shooting, it would take a brave man to back Walcott converting the one half-chance that might come his way against a difficult opponent. When it comes to the final product, Arsenal need ruthless. Not toothless.
On paper, he had the all the attributes to emulate the famous No.14 before him. In 2016, though, those comparisons to the great Thierry Henry end at the shirt number. It’s not just the respective goal returns that are miles apart; Walcott’s general level of performance has left a lot to be desired, especially when it matters most. The fact Wenger often overlooks him on the big stage says it all. And if he’s not deemed good enough now, he can’t be the man to fire the club back to the top either.
I’m sorry Walcott, but your time at Arsenal is up. Thanks for the service, and the handful of magical memories. However, for me, your time at the Emirates will be remembered with sadness. Unfortunately, the prophecies of stardom never came true. It’s time to call it a day.
With the right support, Walcott might progress to a point where he finally becomes the player we all once thought he would. Personally, though, I can’t see it. He’s certainly not the worst player in the squad right now, and most fans will anticipate several departures between now and the end of August. Nevertheless, Walcott’s should be the first name on the departures list.
If Wenger can fetch in the region of double the purchase price in the process, the it’ll be up there with the best deals of the summer.