I have been reading for a while that Theo looks like he is on the way out of Arsenal and this seems to be the season that this saga finally gets put to rest.
The Metro has reported that Arsenal have become another club interested in highly rated Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha and see him as a direct replacement for Walcott. Here are three reasons why I think this move could benefit all involved:
Theo wants to play through the middle: The hold up on his contract has been instantly assumed to do with the amount of money Walcott wants from Arsenal but this is not the case.
Walcott simply wants assurance in his contract that he will start to play through the middle as a striker rather than on the wing where he learnt his trade after a high profile and lucrative move from Southampton. With the addition of Podolski and Giroud to help compensate for the loss of Van Persie this summer and the fact that Gervinho is being prefered up front to Theo, the prospects of him getting a run of games as the main striker don’t look good.
Even though we have a long way to go in the season and if injuries or bad form allow Walcott a chance in his prefered role then he may well cement a place up front and gain a new contract but with time ticking away Wenger may want to cut his ties with the pacey finisher.
Zaha is an out and out winger: When the baby faced Theo arrived from Southampton many in the press noted the young striker’s physique or lack of it. Arsene Wenger decided that he would start him out as a winger as this would allow him more time to play and gain important experience needed to grow as a player.
Zaha however is a winger and has shown his skill for Crystal Palace by being one of the outstanding stars of the team during this season so far and the last. There would be no lingering thought in Wenger’s mind about having to one day accommodate the players needs to play as a striker or frustration from the player at being played out of position. Much like Ronseal varnish, Zaha is a winger and will do exactly what a winger is expected to do.
The fact that he is also young and will be at a club with a wonderful history of developing players into stars is a factor only made greater by the fact that he is English so the potential to form a wonderful partnership with Oxlade-Chamberlain is a prospect that could make Roy Hodgson drool.
Walcott’s central assurances could jeopardize the team in long run: Imagine a year from now and Theo has stayed at Arsenal and is playing a more central role. Everything is going smoothly until Arsenal get a lengthy visit from lady luck’s evil sister and the injuries pile up for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho and anyone else that can play as a winger.
Theo then moves back onto the wing which he is happy to do for the time being as injuries are only temporary. Then the man up front begins to play wonderful football and can’t stop scoring. Wenger would be a fool to drop him, the wingers return from injury and Theo is dropped even though his form is good. The Englishmen becomes disgruntled and yet another bitter and ugly transfer saga begins at Arsenal and ruins moral within the squad and any chance of winning some silverware, again.
I know this is a long shot but Arsene Wenger is a man that looks to the future and having been through this scenario too many times before he will want to avoid it at any cost. At the end of the day Podolski, Giroud and even Gervinho are scoring goals and making them so the need for another striker isn’t essential.
Zaha is a winger with excellent prospects and will score the odd goal or two. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if Theo left whereas if he stayed the changes to the squad dynamic may well disrupt a solid foundation that has been built by the new players and Steve Bould.
It is hard to say whether Walcott will stay or even if he will succeed as a striker in the Premiership but after an ill timed announcement about his contract just before the deadline last shut a new horizon may be beckoning for Walcott.