Time to move on for Theo Walcott?

July 24, 2012 in Premier League, Transfers

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Not great times for Arsenal. Similarly to the expected departure of Robin van Persie, Arsenal’s Theo Walcott has also entered the final year of his contract with the club, still yet to re-sign, and it is widely reported that he will follow van Persie out of the door at the Emirates if the club does not manage to keep their star man.

I think this partially has something to do with the club’s ambition. Arsenal are seemingly happy to take European football every year, without making much of a title challenge in the past few years, and the fact that they haven’t won any sort of trophy during Walcott’s tenure could be severely affecting his decision on whether to stay or go as well. Of course, they have come close, reaching the semi final and final of the league cup a few times, but they have always choked on the big stage. Any time they see that glint of light off of a shiny trophy, they seemingly lose their cool for some reason!

Also potentially leading Walcott away from the Gunners is the fact that they have become somewhat of a selling club, and since he has joined, he has seen the likes of Thierry Henry, Ashley Cole, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gaël Clichy, Samir Nasri, and more head for the gates, and guess what? All of them have won major trophies since leaving the club. And now, with their undoubtedly biggest star, Robin van Persie, seemingly with one foot out of the door too, why should Walcott stay? As an England international, barring the big spending clubs like Manchester City, Chelsea, and even Manchester United, Walcott could probably walk in to any team in the Premier League.

I doubt he would go to Spurs though, you know, he doesn’t seem like the kind of player who likes being hated by his once adoring fans, but why not jump on the bandwagon of the ‘revolution’ that has been promised at Liverpool? They might even be willing to stump up a few million pounds for him in January, if he has decided by that point that he wants to go. And why stay at a club that doesn’t seem hungry enough to challenge for the big titles? And if they keep selling their big stars, so they can buy potential, why use the next few years of your career helping a club that doesn’t look like it wants to be rescued?

Speaking of potential, who had bigger potential than Walcott when he was signed from Southampton in 2006? A surprise invite to the World Cup squad for England in that year, and everything seemed like it was sunshine and daffodils for the young Londoner. But another six years down the line, and here we stand today, with Walcott no longer being considered a wonderboy, and being seen as a player that could have done so much more. Four goals in 28 appearances for England, with three of those coming all on the same day in 2008, and 42 goals for Arsenal out of 220 appearances. Arsene Wenger once likened Theo Walcott to the man, the legend, that was Thierry Henry, but compared to Henry’s goalscoring and assist records, Walcott has seemingly fallen off the pace. Is it a case of ‘too much too young’?

Personally, I think it could be. I understand that Wenger saw him, liked him, but did he need to sign him and stick him in the first team straight away? In his first season at the club, at age 17, he appeared in 32 games for Arsenal. Could they have sent him on loan to a lesser club for a season, instead of throwing him in at the deep end, against some of the best players in the world? Compare that with the signing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; they seem to be a bit more patient, putting AOC on as more of a substitute, weaning him into the squad slowly, which I think they should have done with Walcott. There is no denying that he is a talented player, but has he honestly filled his potential? I think you all know the answer to that!

All in all, Walcott is still only 23 years old, so it’s nowhere near the same situation as RVP, who wants to try and win some trophies, and get a good run in a side before he retires. Walcott still has time. Question is, should he take the chance that van Persie did and stick with the club, or try and break out?

A legend could yet still be made.