What to do with Theo Walcott?


Is it me, or has it been really quiet around Theo recently? As far as I can tell, there have been no more contract talks, or if there have been any, it is all been kept rather quiet. Arsene left Theo on the bench for a lot of games at the end of last season and only played him from the start for a meaningless game and the FA Cup final. He did well in both games and especially the all-important opening goal at Wembley, a few minutes before the end of the first half, was of great value to the team.

It must be make-or-break time for Theo in the coming season. He has plenty of talent albeit it with limitations; but the good thing about Walcott is he works his strength really well and is quietly very self-confident. Having been injured for a whole year has not done his career much good, and how many of us believe he is physically strong enough to last a whole season? I have my doubts and I reckon Arsene might also be pondering whether to keep him or not. Ultimately, consistency and reliability are important; especially if you want convince the manager that the CF role should be yours.

Theo is not an all-round winger, as he relies on launching himself onto through balls and is not a dribbler. His speed is of course a great weapon, especially when there is space and the likes of Ozil, Santi, Jack and Alexis are there to pick him out. But we are often denied space and he struggles with being a focal point in the box. Having said that, he moves well and if and when the ball falls to him there is fearlessness as well as deadliness in him, which reminds me a bit of Prince Poldi. That is his other main strength; directly followed by a very decent first touch.

So his qualities are his speed, cold-bloodedness in front of goal and a decent first touch; but he is injury-prone, does not offer much defensively and lacks some key attributes of a classic CF. If Arsene really wants him to stay at Arsenal for many years to come, I reckon Theo will be signed up with a new contract this summer. And, after being out for so long, I really hope it is not Walcott who is holding back this process by being unreasonable regarding his package.

For years I have defended Theo: his assists and goals per game stats have been, and still are, impressive and he was still young. But I am starting to think it is time to let him go unless he unequivocally commits to Arsenal and works his socks off to really demand a place in the first eleven and help carry the team towards even better silverware.

So over to you fine fellow Gooners: what to do with Theo Walcott?

By TotalArsenal.

16 thoughts on “What to do with Theo Walcott?

  • Hi all..
    TA.. You seem to find your way back to write.. Hahaha.. New post everyday..

    We love Walcott.. And he love Arsenal also.. He is already sign a 4 years new contract.. Hehehe..

    He is my best Winger in the world today.. So keep him there.. Don’t push him to other position.. Hahaha..

    Now Vidal out.. Carvalho in.. Is getting better everyday.. Hehehe..

  • Shame TA, if you could have held off for another 12 hours you might have written a different piece?
    Yes, the early morning stuff, headline grabber for the unwary ..’Striker signs 4 year deal’.
    So like it or not, we have Theo …. and Raheem will have to eat humble pie, or find a new home.

    Like I said yesterday, I am of the view that AW is looking for a pacey front 4 who can all play across the line in a fluid attack. And whilst Giroud cannot be included in the ‘pacey club’, I think if he is occasionally played out wide right, he too will add variety. He would be a great outlet ball if our new ‘keeper can spot him one-v-one with a left back.

    Theo fits this model perfectly, as long as he can keep that sharpness he showed in the last two games. Big question mark there, but with one more addition, it will mean he would not have to start every game, which may help to keep him fresh.

    Anybody watching the Porto attack struggle against a PTB team like Sweden will have a good idea what we will face an awful lot of during the coming season? The key to beating such teams lies in counter attacking them with pace – that word again – and get at them before they get set. For that you need a solid back 5, a tackling DM, and instant pace from the mids and front line.
    Alas, anybody watching WC last night will see he is not what we want. He may have improved his passing skills, and upped his running pace… but what about the key part of defending William? He was like a hulk playing the Ozil type defending, by simply blocking the pass lines.
    I would be very surprised if the scouts missed that, and all the subsequent rumours are a blind for a better alternative. Good grief, Gabriel would be a better alternative without spending a penny.

    So for me, yep, I’m fine with Theo. I am guessing his family desires and needs may have over-written any personal demands, and has accepted it is a squad game playing for real this coming season.

    PG, just on your last comment from the previous post. I would say you have put the Arsenal first point of view? Alas, it sets a very bad situation for how the game will progress if this is allowed to happen.
    To put it simply, to allow the very rich clubs to buy all the young talent and put them in storage in a second team to be used as and when, would simply starve the remainder of any hopes of breaking into the top echelon, without yet another ‘sugar daddy’ pumping even more money into the game. As our Manchester City visitor said, the current elite want to keep it that way, and this abuse of financial muscle is certainly the way they could do it?

    What I sent to the FA, and NO! HT, I was not joking, would be to have all clubs who loan out players to lose 75% of their ‘ownership rights’. Not only does this give a greater incentive for the receiving club to develop the player, but they also gain financially if the club decides to ‘buy back’ at at 25% discount of whatever the improved player may be worth. That would expire after two years, and the they can only expect a 25% sell on clause, or lose that if they are the buying club.
    This, I believe would spread the talent around other clubs in the league, and quality players would be rewarded with more game time.
    I also set a limit as to how many 18 to 21year old’s they can keep. Thus, no hoarding.

    Finally, at 4.30 this morning I watched an excellent edition of ‘Hard Talk’, with Don McLean, he of ‘American Pie’ fame. It could have been twice as long as every question brought out an interesting answer that was very unique to the man himself.
    Best quote; ‘Everybody has to fight their own insanity’
    You need to hear the program to fully understand, but it should be repeated on the BBC News channel around midday, if you are interested. Well worth it.


  • TA et al

    Well, re-signed anyway perhaps?

    Regardless, make or break for Theo if he can remain healthy. Rest will develop, again, if..!

    I like him, especially on the counter and against the bus. More flexibility, but if he doesn’t stay healthy … Then difficult to justify perhaps. Still on form he offers a lot given Osils ability to find him, which in turn frees up .oG and Alexis and overlapping AR from attention.

    Just my 2p.

    Cheers — jgc

  • Indeed, as Henry says, it’s very good to have TA turning out these posts on such a regular basis…

    I’m a busy boy so not too much from me today…esp. given that I’m quite confused…Gerry suggests that Theo has signed a new deal but I see nothing in the NewsNow reports (?)… NewSnow IS what we need around here… Instead we have big heat which is scary from a fire perspective. Thunderstorms build in and, if they’re wet ones, it’s all fine…Dry with lightning not so good…

    Kind of like Theo…Maybe?… πŸ˜€

    Like I said on the similar post about Poldolski, my hunch was that Theo would be the one AW keeps. And,I think, based on the news people are suggesting–that’s what’s going down… which is fine by me…

    IMO, Theo can be a contributor on our team but it’s all about team movement and taking the chances when he happens to be in the right place at the right time. I know lots of observers stump for Theo when we’re up against the parked bus teams but I see it exactly the opposite–the teams which push up (and sometimes play a high back line) seem far more susceptible to Theo’s pace… In the cup final Alexis avoided his tendency towards being very static (off the ball) and kept moving, eventually heading the ball (from a position on the right…) to a space where Theo could blast home with his off foot… That’s the recipe and the boys just need to keep cooking it… πŸ˜€

    TA is right about holes in his overall game, but at least (compared to the likes of Poldolski or Joel Campbell…) Theo now seems fit enough to start matches (and play a full 90) and he brings a new dimension (with his lethal pace) when introduced as a super-sub. If we’re up a goal and opponents are chasing a result, Theo’s introduction should serve as a chilling effect–i.e., go for that result and our pacy fellow will hurt you.. Wrapping up results with easy goals ought to be good for both the player (and his goal tally) and the team…

    I’m not quite sure if he’s a cold-blooded finisher but at least Theo’s trained himself into having a bit of a “striker’s mentality” and knows that a shot well taken is as good (in many respects) as a goal. In other words, it’s always better if they go in but Theo making chances (don’t forget about the “shot-cross,” patent pending…) generally helps. Despite his “limits” I don’t think Theo lacks a “footballing brain” and can find ways to help his team(s) at a (relatively) high level. Teaching a bit of swagger to Giroud (who shows his worries with each miss, IMO…) might also be good for the group…

    So, sign da ting (if he hasn’t already), keep at it and get that 20 goal season (or two) so you can retire an Arsenal favorite. In the last contract go-round, Wenger said that Theo isn’t all about the money…Time to see that in action…

  • A couple of other quick notes… haha…

    Gerry, I’m having a LOT of difficulty trying to decipher your posts… From where are you getting your news? Also, I can’t follow your rebuke on PG’s comments (from the last post…) when I don’t see any (…of his comments on it)…

    It’s cool that you’re sending letters to the FA and I’ll have to try and wrap my mind around your ideas for reform of the loan system. My first take, however, is that such a program would just send all loanees (of the huge money clubs, at least) to the continent, where, (sadly, maybe…) they might actually get better playing experience… But maybe that’s what you were after?…

    Something needs to change in that realm (the loan system…) for sure, but I think it would have to be across borders. (Unless maybe you’re thinking the opposite and actually want to make English football only for Englanders, to paraphrase one of the country’s best players–Jack Wilshere–from a few years back…) Over here, in baseball at least, which is also the sport which ignores the college sports system the most, i.e., has the greatest parallels with the English footy (but is also dropping in popularity at an alarming rate…) the first division (“major leagues”) clubs have minor league affiliates. I would think that’s the logical model football will end up following…but, again, across borders, I hope… What (the f*ck) do I know?… Certainly not enough to send anything to the FA… Moreover, I don’t think I’ve got enough cash in pocket to secure an audience with Mr. Blatter or his man (M Platini) at UEFA… πŸ˜€

    In fact, I don’t really follow all this stuff about the FA and trying to influence the quality of the national team by making changes to the domestic club game, but I agree with Wenger’s (unwavering) stance that it’s ALL bad…. To me, the Int’l game is an anachronism and not really of such great interest to folks who hope to see the sport played at the highest level… not to mention subject to extreme problems with corruption… That said, I’m curious about the local take on the England-Japan match tonight in the Women’s World Cup?…

    This applies to the topic at hand, maybe, as Theo would seem to be in a poor negotiating position after all his injury problems–except that he’s English (and maybe that he scored the winner in the domestic cup)…

    In truth, I think the best English players would do MUCH better (for themselves) by staying at their clubs–or at least having their agents keep the money element MUCH more muted… Producing (at modest levels) for both club and country and having a solid career seems better than these–sadly–quite regular moments of holding one’s club to ransom. Currently we’ve got the Raheem Sterling troubles, but I’m thinking about Rooney here and his threat to move across town to ManCity several years back…SAF dealt with that well–getting his owners to kick down the required $300K/week and shaking his head about his player being misguided. Worse, I thought, were all the Gooners drooling over Shrek when Gazidis dropped hints around his name and our sizable slush fund… With that money we got Ozil AND Alexis…and have now finished above United two years on the trot… I guess, I don’t mind my management team lying, if that’s the result… πŸ˜€

    That’s an outsider’s view (of course) and just my own take on things. Long time readers will know that I’ve never been a big fan of the English (or British) core idea at Arsenal and worry that it might actually hold us back. I can see why the club chose it as a marketing strategy but I think it sends the wrong message. My notion is that (in that period) we had the money to buy up a bit of local talent (at a premium…) but not enough to compete with the real money-down-a-hole clubs so it was just an interim strategy to try and keep the seats filled. (Buying a ManU reject–Welbeck–at the deadline, is the same PR strategy in a single, high profile, event…and one which paid off nicely in his fine moment in the cup quarterfinal…Buying young “utility” players, i.e., the Ox and Chambers, is maybe a similar strategy…None of these players, please note, have been able to impose themselves into the starting 11…) Now (I hope) we enter a period where none of the British talent can be guaranteed playing time. It could divide loyalties, but winning things (or competing at a higher level) should attract new fans… Luckily, heavy turnover on our team is less needed than at other clubs (see Man City, United and Liverpool) so our British players can (hopefully) sign their contracts, keep their heads down and earn their minutes…(for both club and country…

  • Interesting post Total…

    I hope the whispers of Theo signing a new 4 year deal are correct.
    I think he is at the stage where he can really deliver, if he stays fit?

    Theo adds variety to our attack.
    He combines well with Giroud, but showed in those last two games of last season, that he can be effective in place of Giroud against the ‘right’ opposition.
    And that’s the conundrum that AW has to solve during next season.

  • T A no brainer for me, Theo adds something in the box that. Other don’t. I appreciate that Welbeck is a hard worker, but Theo looks a lot more likely to score to me.

    if Theo and Rambo can get a run of form going and stay fit, we will be on a winner next season

  • Not a lot on the early NewsNow front, except for a few following up the Szczesney was ‘lied to’ story. I would suggest Arsenal fans ignore this as it has all the hallmarks of somebody chatting to WS2’s dad …AGAIN!
    Until we hear otherwise, I would guess that Szezzer is still wishing he could distance himself further from his father. Whilst it is true being on the bench will not do much for his international prospects in the short term, but if he becomes a better keeper he will have a much stronger case for being the Polish No 1. Which is the point this story is missing, as I don’t think Woijech has been their No 1 recently? … except in Szczesney Senior’s head, and why I think the misguided advice stems from him.

    HT, I appreciate you being a busy chap and all, but it is not that hard to find the links on the previous pages of NewsNow. I am up at 3.0am GMT most mornings. I start to read and write about an hour later. I gave the title of the blog, but I don’t like endorsing every blog I read.
    I took it at being one that was a bit of an early leak because, as TA said, it had all gone quiet on contract talks. So to get something out of the blue like that tends to make me think somebody let it slip. At the time of writing I expected the story to grow. It didn’t. I still think the club are close to a deal and are waiting to make a big announcement at an appropriate time.

    As for the ‘rebuke’ of PG’s comment made at the end of the previous post. Really? You couldn’t follow it because I did not quote him?? Sod me HT, my comments are long enough, without adding unnecessary quotes in. Especially when it is a simple scroll up, click previous post, scroll down to the end. I doubt if PG had forgot what he wrote, and I was replying to him.
    Rebuke? I said I thought he was thinking in a purely Arsenal way in his support for these ‘affiliated’ clubs, and that it might be a downward spiral as the rich clubs would get a stranglehold on future talent, and not necessarily in the long term interest of the Football league.
    Regards to your response to my idea, and yes, I did note your ‘curve ball’ insert, but you missed the essential point. I said the ‘Loan’ deals would change to a 25% discount buy back. This would apply to all clubs and no matter where they send them, they LOSE 75% of their ownership.
    And NO, I don’t expect my idea getting pushed along to to top level, partly because they are already thinking of something about that in their changes. I did not think they could enforce any
    ‘playing time’ rule because it interferes with a managers right to decide who will play. However, I did say in my email, that if the mooted 4th substitute amendment comes in for the 2016-2017 season, then they could apply a rule that of the first 3 subs used, one must be aged 18-21, and must be used before the 75th minute. Any sub used after the 75 minute would be deemed for an injury, not tactical, and the player subbed is given a medical ban of one game. That gets rid of the irritating time wasting in the final few minutes.

    Another idea, a 10 minute sin bin for any ‘professional foul’ – properly defined of course.

    Honestly HT, you don’t do your analysis any favours by saying ‘ I don’t follow this ..’ and the next sentence say you totally agree ‘It’s all BAD’.

    This one is long enough, but something in the next one for you to get you teeth into, okay.

  • Totally off topic – NOT FOOTBALL RELATED … Ignore if not interested.


    The European Bank issue a Greek Euro in a different colour to the other Euro’s, and distinctive enough that it cannot be forged.
    Then give them a one off gift of this currency up to the value of the current Greek GNP.
    Within the Greek borders this currency is worth the same as any other Euro.
    However, if they buy goods from outside, their Euro is only worth 80%.
    Likewise, when the Greek banks ‘buy back’ Greek Euro’s with ordinary Euro’s earned from tourism or exports, they too lose 20%. This 20% is then put in a fund towards debt repayment.
    Current debt is frozen, no further interest added.
    The Greek people will not notice the difference except for imports being dearer, as with any devaluation of currency.
    Greeks who took their money out of Greek Banks will have a choice, of sorts. Return it to Greece, or have their external holdings turned into Greek Euro’s.
    The Greek Government should be able to get their economy into growth, as only their imports an income are ‘taxed’ by 20% instead of the unrealistic repayment schemes proposed.
    Revisit in 5 years.

    Question HT, should I send this suggestion to Brussels?

  • Gerry and 17

    Easy boys… (Deep, gravelly voice added)

    Interesting take on Greece, Gerry, but it’s effectively a separate currency, which would devalue further if they didn’t behave… From there, or before it, you get futures and trading on both its value and its potential. Only solution is as you note, a fixed devaluation and trying to prevent all but the black markets from speculating on it as there will certainly be those willing to trade it for a “real” currency, even if the exchange is dearer.

    I love that stuff and so…

    Cheers — jgc

  • Thanks Geoff. My thoughts on Greece are trying to keep a lid on ever more expensive loans, and at the same time keep them in the Eurozone.
    I fear if they drop out altogether they will have the double whammy of an ever devaluing of their currency (the drachma), and have to pay tax on stuff they sell to the rest of Eurozone countries, which might be too much with an economy already struggling?
    My recipe would not satisfy everyone of course.
    But if they drop out, the Eurobank probably having pick up he tab for their default on the loans, that too could send others back into recession, and more austerity?

    Everyone is between a rock and a hard place.

    As you say, it effectively makes Greece have a separate currency, but within the Euro umbrella. Anybody travelling to Greece via the rest of Europe they would not have to change their Euro’s to Greek Euro’s. It would enable Greece to trade with Countries outside of the Eurozone with Euro’s they earn, but that would have to be limited. Ultimately it comes down to whether they can get their accounts back into profit, and 5 years would be long enough to see if they are heading in the right direction?

    The point of the post was really to show that when I think about a problem, I do try and think it through.

    The ideas I had to improve Football was not so much directed at the National team and its deficiencies, more at developing young talented footballers into becoming professional footballers first, and club footballers second. Hence it was not a perspective aimed at improving Arsenal.
    I just think that these aspiring footballers that get into the large academies, and have access to the best coaches, they then should be thinking, ‘Where can I get first team football’. Not, ‘If I hang around here I may get a chance to play for this club’.

    The basic plan I put forward was; All junior contracts expire at the end of the season in which they reach their 18th birthday. Apart from the small number that the clubs are allowed to sign up, which they presumably think are the best, all, Yes, ALL the rest are circulated to the top two divisions as seeking a contract. That way the talent gets spread across the board. Which should make the League more competitive, and develop far more youngsters. The ones that do not sign up to any club can try a secure a deal abroad, but the 25% stake goes with them and pays for the big academies expenses should they be sold at a later date.

    It has flaws, but so does the alternatives put forward so far.

    I hope you are still up and aware at 12.00 GMT too?

  • Indeed

    Interesting thoughts Gerry …

    As for football side: I agree more dynamic opportunities would enable more endeavor to grab them, perhaps improving the overall quality and level of players thru not being able to be too settled, as well as having more opportunities for those who improve rapidly.

    Cheers — jgc

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