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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Walcott Wants To Play Upfront

Theo Walcott has refuted suggestions that his Arsenal contract remains unsigned for fiduciary reasons. The Gunners winger has nine months to run on his current deal and has found himself a peripheral figure in the first team this season. How far that is down to the manager sending him a message or just, you know, other players in his position are playing better is open to conjecture.

Reports suggest that Theo is holding out for £100k a week from Arsenal, with the club refusing to budge from £80k. But speaking to Sky Sports, Walcott has suggested there's more to it.

It's a slow process,' Walcott said. 'My last contract took over six months to happen. Hopefully it can be sorted out.

'I've never said I wanted to go, I've always wanted to stay. I want to be an Arsenal legend. Thierry joined the club when he was 22 and I want to become an Arsenal legend like him, playing up front as well, which is a big factor for me. I've played on the right wing and had the opportunity to play up front a bit more so I think it's about time.

'That speculation on the money side of it has never been me. That's not me. I'm not the sort of person who's influenced by money. I always make my decisions based on football and only football. Hopefully something can be sorted out. I'll just wait for the club to get back to us now and go from there.

'It's one of those things that happens in the game. If it comes to it, if the club had to sell me, I'd be disappointed but, like I said, hopefully something can be sorted.'

My own view is that that's a nice piece of spin. Frankly, Walcott has never shown any sort of evidence that he could succeed in a central role with two centre halves sitting deep and minding him, forcing him to play with his back to goal etc. So I'm not quite sure why it's 'about time' he played upfront any more than it's 'about time' Cazorla had a shot at the left back position.

Frankly, I don't really think his contract has much to do with his 'exile' from the team right now. Simply, Arsenal are a more disciplined side now and Walcott isn't really capable of playing more discretely in my view, same as Arshavin.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 24 2012

Time: 8:38PM

Your Comments

I wouldn't be so harsh on Theo, LD. I don't think its only about spin (although even I don't believe its 'time he played as a striker'). Its difficult to really know what went on, but Theo is saying the right things, even privately to Wenger, telling him he wants to stay. I'm sure a part of it is about money, but I do hope he stays. If he can up his game with the increased competition, he can be an asset to the squad. He has his technical faults of course and I've also been frustrated at his lack of development, but we shouldn't give up on him now.
prits
I'm not giving up on him per se, but I have never seen a striker in there and I don't think I ever will. I think it's a bit disingenuous of him to say the contract is only about him being a striker. The team doesn't need him to do that job and I'm not sure he's capable anyway. I think it's clear he wants £100k a week and I'm sure if we offered him that tomorrow, he wouldn't even ask the striker question.
Little Dutch
He's not worth 100k!!!!! He is inconsistent and drives me mad. I think there is a good player in there, but he needs to deliver on a regular basis. I don't think he will get that sort of money elsewhere in the present economic climate. Well this is modern football is suppose and there is always someone daft enough to pay stupid money!
deadlydave
We're all, well at least a majority, a bit harsh on him right now but is it because of the contract stuff? We unanimously rejected and scoffed at that pundit who said he didn't have a footballing brain, but now that he hasn't signed on yet, some are already making excuses for why he should leave. I can't see him as a lone striker, but he could do the business in a 4-4-2 formation with Giroud doing the dirty work with back to goal. His finishing isn't half bad. Ask yourself this - when Ramsey threaded that brilliant pass through to Gervinho in the first half, would Theo have taken an extra touch so strong it gifted Hart a save, or would he have buried it in the net with his first touch? I think the latter. And we don't actually know the numbers regarding how much he wants and how much he's been offered, it's just a regurgitation of the numbers the tabloids make up. If somebody has a link to a reputable source that quotes either Arsene or Theo saying Arsenal are offering £80k and Theo wants £100k, please share.
elbondo
Elbondo, you are dressing Walcott in borrowed gowns, I seriously doubt that the outcome would have been any different. Walcott has had years to stake a claim to a striker's shirt, but he has never shown any promise in that department. There is no objective basis for the assumption that he would be a good striker, he has not exactly been a shining light as a winger, and it is wishful thinking to imagine that a winger, who is at best promising, but mostly frustrating, will morph into Titi. Whatever the little man has been smoking, bottle it up and be sure to pass it round on Friday evening
deledudu
Walcott has missed more one on one with a goalkeeper than I can remember. Seriously doupt he would have done better and even if he had the next 3 chances would have been missed more than likely.
Armory
Not sure the assertion he didn't have a football brain was unanimously rejected! I'd be happy to keep Theo, but not as a centre forward and not on the money he's asking for. (And he is asking for that, trust me). I just don't think he warrants a starting place, certainly not at the moment. I think he doesn't have a football brain, but he certainly has qualities that can hurt opponents, as his numbers suggest. As for the Gervinho chance, I'm not convinced Theo would have made that run but if he did, he certainly has form for miscontrolling a football. I would prefer the guy to stay ideally, but if he wants what he's asking for (both financially and tactically) then I personally wouldn't bend to him on either demand.
Little Dutch
Walcott? Central striker? Lolzzzz. The guy is living in lala-land
deledudu
Theo would've ran it out of play! There is no way this guy can lead our line, doesn't have the guile of intelligence on the football pitch to make the right runs, doesn't have the physicality to hold up the ball, and doesn't have the finishing ability. But, as has been said, he does have strengths, I just don't think he's good enough to start for what is shaping up to be a very, very good Arsenal side indeed.
shewore
Whatever happened to I'll play wherever the boss wants me to, I just want to play. Maybe the desire to play up front has been triggered by the emergence of The Ox and the realisation that he won't be able to compete there. It's a real tricky one because he's only 23 and he may yet develop, not least a bit more in terms of his physical strength. Even if it doesn't come naturally to him perhaps, his footballing brain can develop in the next few years. You have to think though that if Wenger really believed in his talent and really didn't want to lose him, this would have been sorted by now.
Gooner_Vin
Theo cannot play as a CF. It is that simple. Wenger did try something of a 4-4-2 combo with him feeding off Giroud, against City and on two occasions Giroud nodded down, Theo was in the wrong place. Of course, that combination may get better with time and practice, it is just that Arsenal don't have that time. As Gooner_Vin stated, and I have hinted here a while back, it is the fact that he can't compete for the starting slot on the wings with the Ox. At best, Theo will be used in lesser games or come into the big games late on.
Naijagunner
Glad you picked up on that incident NG. When Mannone lined up the free kick, Arteta had to yell at Walcott to get into the centre as Giroud was waiting on the flank to flick the ball on Kevin Davies style. Giroud won the ball and Walcott still didn't have the nous to simply run after it in the area.
Little Dutch
...and that was one of the occasions. I like him as a person and will prefer we keep him. it is just that he has to be realistic with his demands and simply prove it on the pitch in the games.
Naijagunner
*prove his value* that is.
Naijagunner
I think Theo and his agent used the current climate to try and get more money. Concerns about our perceived “star player” drain gave Theo’s team a little leverage to up the ante but now it’s failed, he has to try to assuage the club and the fans. Suggesting that it was all about football is much more palatable for the faithful and therefore much more forgivable than simply being greedy for more cash. Still, I’d like to see him stay and I want to be able to say in the future that he is now worth 100k a week because his performances merit it. So Theo, sign the contract, get your football head on and prove you’re worth the money.
Sir Henry
Theo's advisors might wait for January (hence Theo's comments that he didn't expect it to be signed anytime soon) to test the waters to see if anyone is really interested in offering him more money. Perhaps this is only about money, but Theo is not disrespecting the club in public. His conduct has been good so far (even if this is attempted spin), so there are a couple of positives.
prits
 

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