Arsenal - Wenger Should Grant Walcott His wish
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Wenger Should Grant Walcott His wish

With all the speculation, anguish, statements, wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding Robin van Persie, the issue of Theo Walcott and his slowly winding down contract has taken the metaphorical back seat, however the situation is a concern nonetheless.

With only a year left on his contract the rapid Englishman will be free to talk to any club who tickles his fancy (assuming he tickles theirs) in a little over 6 months, and in my humble opinion, it would be a huge mistake if we let him go.

Walcott is a player who can amaze and frustrate in equal measure, sublimely intricate one minute, tripping over his own feet the next, but when alls said and done, his goals and assists numbers are still fairly impressive.

Theo himself appears to be an articulate, pleasant and polite young man, everything you wouldn`t normally associate with the modern day footballer, and one thing he has articulated on a number of occasions is his desire to play in the striker`s role.

Maybe the time has come to grant him his wish if we`re serious about keeping him?

Chris Walleddlele once infamously said that Theo Walcott does not possess a footballing brain (quite the slant coming from a person with no measurable intellect), it was a comment that has been repeated almost every time Theo makes a mess of a cut-back or chooses the wrong pass, but it`s garbage. There`s no way Walcott could become a regular at one of the top clubs in England if he didn`t possess footballing intelligence, but that said, he`s not fulfilling his potential.

Theo is not being the best he could be simply because he isn`t a winger. Much like Laurent Koscielny wouldn`t excel in the defensive midfield role (probably), Theo isn`t always going to play well when asked to do something he doesn`t particularly excel at.

For me, Theo is a player who plays better when acting on instinct, much like Ian Wright, Walcott is at his masterful best when he has to act instinctively, running onto the ball rather than with it at his feet. Walcott is a fantastic finisher, being able to bend them in at the far post like Henry, dink them over the keeper like Ljungberg or smash them home like Wrighty, his talent lies in scoring goals, not in beating a man with chalk on his boots.

The change in footballing philosophy since the days of Henry, Pires, Bergkamp and Ljungberg has seen the Arsenal style become much more considered and slower paced, taking 50 passes when back in 2004 we could go from defending to scoring in a matter of four or five touches, however having now lost the spine to the team to which that style was built around (assuming van Persie will be sold in the next couple of weeks) maybe a change in style will see us try to resort to the more devastating style of yesteryear?

With the acquisition of Lukas Podolski and Oliver Giroud we`ve got a couple of quite different strikers, one big, powerful and apparently aerially dominant, and the other very similar to van Persie. Two players to really push us on in the goal scoring stakes.

However two strikers is simply too small a number to keep us going for an entire campaign, and let`s face it, Chamakh and Park aren't going to give us anything in the way of … well … anything at all, we need another striker.

Walcott should be that man.

Wenger rarely lives to regret letting a player go (of course some players have gone on to greener grasses but their positions had become untenable at the club) but I sincerely believe we would go on to regret losing Theo Walcott if we have the chance to keep him and get the best out of him in a more advanced role.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday July 23 2012

Time: 5:52PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Can't harm to give him a go. He's played a couple of times in the striker position and didn't impress but in his defence, he's playing in an Arsenal side that doesn't seem to exploit his weapons effectively. Who knows what Wenger will do though? He needs to get rid of Chamakh and Park first.
Professor Calculus
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23/07/2012 18:21:00

LD can probably recollect better than I, but I think everytime Walcott as played upfront has been in either an injuty ravaged side or a weakned Carling Cup team. I really think he needs a run up top.
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23/07/2012 18:29:00

Can he control the ball in tight spaces? I think not. His current position is the best suited for him.. Running at defenders from wide areas - suits him and us. But I do agree he is too important a player to let go off.
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23/07/2012 18:40:00

I should hope he could control a ball in a tight space...
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23/07/2012 19:20:00

Running at defenders doesn't suit him at all, he never varies the speed in which he tries to move which makes him extemely predictable. When someone plays the ball for him to run on to then you can't defend agaist him. Troube is tThat when that happens out wide he’s still got men to beat or pick the right pass once he gets there, not his strong suit at all, but when he’s through the middle he finishes very well a lot of the time.
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23/07/2012 19:40:00

Theo is not ready to have that responsibility foisted on him. He still lacks that presence of mind and quickness of thought all good Top strikers require. If we are in a siege situation and need a goal with defenders tiring; if the opposition is going at us gung-ho and we need a speed-star to catch their defenders cold from a long ball; if we need to utilize his speed in tight games; etc. Maybe, we can throw him in and gradually ease him into the role in about a year or two (if he signs that contract).
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23/07/2012 19:45:00

Be careful what you say about Chamakh, Prof Calculus. Have you seen the latest pics from our team's training session at the Bulit Jalil National stadium today? Someone in Asia thinks he is a big thing ;-)
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23/07/2012 19:49:00

Be careful what you say about Chamakh, Prof Calculus. Have you seen the latest pics from our team's training session at the Bulit Jalil National stadium today? Someone in Asia thinks he is a big thing ;-)
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23/07/2012 19:49:00

If Theo plays in the middle, he will always have 1 or 2 plays on his arse. He will need RvP-eqsue skills to keep possession and bring others into play. What theo is good at his beating people for pace and finishing. Hes a very good finisher. He doesnt need to be a Ronaldo or a Nani to beat defenders.. he can beat them for pace anyday. But that he needs some room to run at - whcih he will get if he plays out wide
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23/07/2012 20:30:00

walcott is certainly the m. owen type of player and would suit any teams that play direct counter attacking tactic. the problem with employing him in such role with us is, teams against us are parking the bus at the final third. there is not enough space for him to unleash his pace
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24/07/2012 05:00:00

I just don't see a single quality in Theo that suggests he's a striker. In fact, it calls upon everything he's especially bad at. Holding the ball up with his back to goal and bringing others into play, moving intelligently to create space. The only way this would work would be if we assume every team we play is going to be stupid enough to stick their defence on the halfway line. If I were a centre half and I saw Walcott was playing upfront, I'd think, "Easy, I'll just stay on the edge of my eighteen yard area and it's job done." His best runs are between full back and centre half when there's confusion as to who should pick him up. They're not outstandingly intelligent runs really, he relies on his pace but he's much more effective bending those runs in from the flank. With two Centre halves minding him full time in the centre, he wouldn't get a sniff.
Little Dutch
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24/07/2012 07:59:00

Sweet mother of christ "NOOOOO"
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24/07/2012 09:07:00

How do we know he is bad at holding the ball up? He doesn't play up front and if he is having to hold the ball up on the wing (which he plays 99.99% of the time) then were doing something wrong. If anything theo is at his worst when he has his ball to feet and defenders facing him, the best of theo is when he has the ball in the box.....his burst of pace to make room for a shot.....which is on target most of the time, he is a great finisher. I have always said that any team plays to its front mans strength. So for you to say 'he's crap with his back to goal' doesn't really rub with me as we wouldn't feed the ball to his feet with his back to goal.....if we had giroud up there then yes maybe. You never saw liverpool lumping the ball up to Owen, unless the defence was high up the pitch and then utilise Owens blistering pace. You never saw Liverpool playing the ball to his feet with his back to goal surrounded by hairy ass center halfs
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24/07/2012 19:18:00

Fu(king iPad!!! My point is Liverpool played to Owens strengths which was his lightning pace and finishing. If anything I would say Walcott has more strings to his bow then Owen. With Walcott as an option to play up front it gives us so many more. If we're playing against a team that is putting everyone behind the ball on the 18 yard box then giroud would probably have more joy, but if we're against a team that likes to defend high up and try and put pressure on us then a player like Walcott can be devastating for them. Walcott does have fantastic of the things arsene loves about him. I can just see him hovering along the defenders high line and with a angled ball through he would be almost unplayable. He definitely gives us a more direct option. I'm not saying ' Walcott should start upfront every game and that's the end of it!' I'm saying he should be an option for sure.
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24/07/2012 19:24:00

The type of striker Owen was was incredibly one dimensional and went extinct anyway when more complete forwards, such as Raul, Henry, Ronaldo and Shevchenko came along. If you gear your whole team to a skilset as limited as Walcott's, you're very easy to play against. Like I said, sit on the edge of your area, don't push up, voila. Arsenal are playing with ten men and no striker. Walcott's never played at centre half either, so by that logic we shouldn't rule out him as our new CB enforcer? You can see clear as day that Walcott doesn't have the properties of a central striker and won't be able to hold a ball up with his back to goal and spin a centre half. He's not a great passer, so he won't be bringing others into play with subtle lay offs. He's not very strong physically, so he won't be holding off challenges. You said yourself he can't get round players when he's facing them, so how he'll have the guile or skill to spin them or hold them off with his back to goal I've no idea. Basically, Walcott's only trick is that he can run fast and is a good finisher when it's instinctive and he doesn't have time to think about it. He plays in the only position where we can utilise that because he plays an advanced role but isn't the focus of the team. He can work the avenues of the pitch where the responsibility to pick him up and deal with him can be confusing. He's not even a good winger, he's a good wide forward because that's the only section of the pitch where his pace can be tricky to deal with, bending his run off the flank between full back and centre half. Anywhere else and it'd be so predictable it's untrue. I don't even think it's a Plan B.
Little Dutch
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25/07/2012 09:42:00

agreed ld. even playing against likes of man city, man u, chelsea etc, we were always allowed to have greater possession, meaning no teams in the league would allow us to play the hit and run game like what liverpool did with owen-heskey. probably watcott-giroud would be a devastating combination for team like newcastle, liverpool etc. but not here. having said that, do you think it's a luxury to keep walcott?
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25/07/2012 14:09:00

I think it's a luxury that we need joe. I don't think there are any players that have left arsenal at such a young age that I have wished didn't apart from anelka......he would have developed into a devastating attacker if he had stayed learning his trade under wenger......saying that, we landed Henry so can't really grumble, but the chances of us landing another Henry is not going to happen in my life time. My point is that I have a horrible feeling we will regret it if we were to let him go. I don't think Walcott has a problem with ability, it's with his confidence. You saw his reaction after belting that goal in for England. It was a reaction of someone who thought he couldn't do that. The fella is just to bloody nice......he needs a bit of bendtner in him, and I'm not talking literally :) jokes aside he just needs to be a bit nasty on the pitch, be a bit ruthless and arrogant. He needs to think he's the bees knees. Henry at juve was a young player similar age to Walcott drained of confidence. Fans frustrated with his obvious talent but lack of productivity, you would just see flashes of brilliance but most of the time left out on the wing chasing games. As soon as Henry started to believe he was the king he performed like a king. I'm not saying Walcott is the next Henry, I'm just reminding people that the legend of henry was not always. I'm a strong believer that a strong mind makes a great player. The flicks and tricks are just a nice bonus. Walcott is reaching that age where I think we would be mad to cut our losses with him.
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25/07/2012 18:10:00


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