Date:Monday July 23 2012
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.
Date:Monday July 23 2012
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