The Latest on Walcott: Is The Writing On The Wall?
It’s all gone quiet on the Theo Walcott contract issue – the latest in contract sagas that dominates the Arsenal agenda; it’s par for the course for your average Gooner. And it’s fucking soul destroying.
Many of the Press pack won’t go near the latest developments (or non-developments) as they don’t want to burn any bridges, but as football journalism is no longer my living – and there’s so many shit-strewed column inches written about Arsenal – I’m willing to provide the latest.
First and foremost, Theo Walcott is a fine professional. He doesn’t cause trouble behind the scenes like many of our recent contract rebels. In fact, throughout this entire episode he’s got his head down and concentrated on his game – and staying as fit as he can without breaking down. There’s been no skulking about, no refusing media obligations and no threats to go on strike.
In fact, I hear that Walcott would like to sign an extension at Arsenal and kick-on (a career that has been hampered by injury and hype-induced-pressure) at a time when his game is maturing and coming to fruition.
Of course, there is one obstacle: money. Walcott’s people believe he is worth £100k a week. Arsenal don’t. They value him at £75k a week. This much you all know.
What hasn’t been reported is this: The company line from the club is that Walcott’s agent says they do not want to meet to discuss matters further; yet Walcott’s agent is saying the opposite. And it has also been mooted from Walcott’s agent that Arsenal did make an increase on their £75k a week offer to £77k a week – which is as much as a flicking of the v’s as it would be to refuse to budge on £75k a week. The Walcott camp want closer to £100k as they know they can get that elsewhere, with Liverpool desperate to sign the boyhood Red – and even rumoured to have agreed a financial package (not with Arsenal). City are also interested.
So, as with many a deal, one party is feeding bum info to the Press. And while this carries on with no resolve it will only end one way.
As with Bacary Sagna, Arsenal are drawing a line in the sand. They will not be dictated to by agents and players. They’re fed up of strike threats, being told which players to sign and being shown absolutely no loyalty. They won’t be held to ransom. Whether that is right or wrong in the minds of season ticket holders paying some of the highest prices in football is open to interpretation. One thing is certain: Arsenal need to stop losing their best players.
I understand both parties are confident of reaching an agreement at around the £80k a week mark. Most Gooners would see that as a big positive having endured so many of these soul destroying contract sagas.
But as we stand there is an impasse. And if an agreement can’t be reached Walcott will be sold in January – even if Wenger would prefer to keep hold of him. The Board vetoed Wenger’s request to keep hold of Samir Nasri in favour of cashing in on an asset, and they will do the same. And people say Wenger has too much control at Arsenal Football Club…