Theo Walcott and the case of SMH

Good morning, let’s start with the transfer rumor du jour: Chicharito to Arsenal.

Chance that I would like Chicharito at Arsenal: 85%. I have long admired Hernandez: he works hard, gets into great positions to score, and he has great touch. Not everything he tries comes off and he can be wasteful sometimes. But he has the ability to break down a defense, he’s quick, and he makes fantastic runs. Probably one of the most instinctive players I’ve seen in terms of creating spaces, getting himself into space, knowing what he wants to do with the ball before he gets it, and being available to receive the ball. He would be what Theo Walcott was supposed to be as a forward, albeit slightly less quick.

Chance that Chicharito is going to sign for Arsenal: 10%. I would normally put this number higher but the Little Pea had this to say about rumors: “I don’t know if the rumours surrounding me are true or not.” For those of you who don’t know, this is exactly not how Arsenal operate in the transfer market. If they are after a player they speak directly to the player. Arsenal did this with Suarez, with Özil, with Alexis, with Xhaka, and they would be doing this with Chicharito. If Arsenal were after him, he would know. Wenger does this because he wants assurances. Once a player is on the market, Wenger knows Arsenal can’t compete in a bidding war, so he wants the player to commit to Arsenal before the formal bid is placed. Yes, I know that some would classify that as “tapping up” but it’s done all the time and it’s only tapping up if it angers the selling club.

Obviously, there is a chance that Arsenal are after Chicharito, maybe they asked Bayer Leverkusen if they could talk to him? Also, Chicharito could be acting coy and saying exactly what Arsenal want him to say. That’s why I’m at 10% now. As always, I reserve the right to adjust that upward as new, reliable (read; not stuff I conjectured off twitter), information becomes available.

Now, on to the real story; Theo Walcott and the case of YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME.

In case you don’t read any news except what I publish (and clearly you’re mental) you know by now that Theo Walcott has said he no longer wants to play up front and now wants to play back on the right. “I’ve said to the manager that I want to be known for playing on the right again,” was his direct quote. He still maintains that he can play up front but he wants to “be known” for playing on the right, reiterating “I know I can do a job up front as well as on the right, but I want to make my position the right-hand side.”

It’s an incredible statement on his part because it’s basically admitting that he’s a failure at center forward, the position that he held Arsenal to ransom in order to play. Arseblog has maintained for quite some time that Theo Walcott demanded a central role be written into his contract and that there were promises to that effect. And so, Arsenal played Walcott in the central role, and gave him chances to blossom.

But instead of growing into the position, Walcott regressed. And this pre-season he had supposedly come back stronger, faster, and more determined than ever to prove he was ready for the forward role. He told us that he spent the summer working on “quickness” both in touch and in thought but when he stepped on the pitch, he was laborious, turning the ball over, constantly going the same direction (to his right), and running into blind alleys.

This idea of “quickness” of thought and action is something that I literally read in an article yesterday. Wenger was asked how an academy should be designed and he said “The most important under 14 years old is Technique. After 14 Speed becomes more and more important. Not physical speed but reaction and speed with the ball.” Walcott, for all of his foot speed has never been able to truly play quickly and now here he is at age 27 trying to learn. 

What is incredible about Walcott’s entire career has been Wenger’s indulgence of the player. I’m sure that Walcott is a hard working player, probably the most dedicated professional there is. That’s a quality that Wenger holds in high regard. But what Walcott has in hard work, he lacks in technique and the all important speed of play. So, why has Wenger indulged him all these years? Not just in terms of giving him playing time, when he clearly wasn’t the best player on the pitch, but in terms of giving him the choicest position over the last three years? These are questions that I can’t answer.

Dropping him back to the right would be a further indulgence, not a punishment. It’s an indulgence because he lacks the ability to break down a team with a dribble like Oxlade-Chamberlain does. It’s an indulgence because he lacks the defensive awareness and grit that Joel Campbell has. And it would be the ultimate insult to those two players to let Theo Walcott take back the right wing spot. Isn’t Wenger always worried about “killing” young players? Allowing Theo Walcott to play on the right would be like metaphorically dipping Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a vat of acid, then throwing Ox’s melting body onto Campbell’s legs. If I was Ox and Walcott started ahead of me on the right? I would demand to be sold.

And what will Theo do on the right? He doesn’t make a good pairing with Bellerin. He can’t cut inside on his left. So, that leaves… Play in right-footed crosses? Sure, maybe at the end of games when we are super desperate and willing to lose the game by a few goals but want another option. Though, I would argue that Campbell and Ox aren’t much worse than Theo at that and that Bellerin is actually far superior. I hate to say it but I think Walcott is easily third or fourth choice right wing at Arsenal right now. I wouldn’t let him start wide over Iwobi.

This whole situation with Walcott is now a mess. That he demanded a central role, failed, and now wants his old job back shows me a player who is gone mentally. He no longer has the fight needed to win any position on the pitch. But worse, that he is a 27 year old player who this summer finally started working on the speed at which he plays the game — the speed of thought and action, not just running — that’s a failure on Arsene Wenger’s part. In fact, Theo Walcott’s career, from the indulgences of the position, to the salary he is currently on, to the fact that he’s still even an Arsenal player has been a huge failure on Arsene Wenger’s part.

Sadly, I think Arsenal are stuck with him. I disagree with Arseblog that the West Ham’s of the League will pay Walcott the same money that Leicester pay Vardy. And I especially disagree now that he has come out and publicly proclaimed himself a failed project. Huge salary, mentally gone, technically not at the top level. Who wants that?

Qq

 

48 Comments on Theo Walcott and the case of SMH

  1. I literally burst out laughing at the Oxlade-Chamberlain / Campbell / Acid sentence! Thanks for that. 🙂

  2. I think Walcott’s duration at the club has been as much as about circumstance as indulgence.

    Bought as a 16 year old just at the point of the end of the Invincibles, he actually had some good moments earlier in his career. Fans were comparing him to Theirry Henry at one point. That was always fanciful, but his run to set up Adebayor in the CL vs Liverpool was fantastic, and he could be such a frightening weapon that I understand wanting to get more out of him. I still remember Theo Van Nasrigas and how exciting that was. Let’s not pretend that his whole career has been a waste. Just potential unfulfilled.

    Walcott doesn’t strike me as a very driven individual. I think he works hard, but just doesn’t have that internal drive to take a jump up in level. Of course he’s been limited by injuries. Also of note, from a human perspective, he’s reportedly had family issues with his son and his wife having health problems the past couple of years.

    There was a reason we paid him so much to stay. He’d had a good season, and we couldn’t afford to lose another ‘star’, dim as it may have been. I don’t believe it was the wrong decision. But how he’s regressed is just…. frustrating.

    As for being given a starting spot. Come on. Maybe needs must right now up front, but he wasn’t played much from the midpoint of last season when the last vestiges of contribution from him dried up. And that was when the Ox was having a terrible season himself, and Iwobi had only just emerged. I don’t see why he would just be given a spot right now.

    • What had Walcott done to earn a starting spot as CF at Arsenal? He was handed that spot because Wenger is a gambler. He had to have seen Walcott in practice. He had to know Walcott wasn’t good enough. He had to know Walcott wasn’t fast enough in terms of footballing ability. Sorry, Shard, Wenger just handed him those roles. And worse he also sacrificed getting in another forward to indulge Theo.

      Also, I don’t feel like being lectured on “pretending” or “forgetting” Walcott’s few bright moments. No club at Arsenal’s level would have given a player like Walcott 10 years to do what little he has done. I doubt even Tottenham would have held on to a player who had just one good season out of 10.

      • Hey, I wasn’t intending to lecture you. Sorry if it sounded that way, and it was probably because of the general statements around Theo rather than just yours.

        Walcott had a decent, effective start to last season as a striker. Yes he wasn’t great in getting involved in the buildup but he was scoring goals, and very occasionally having a great game. I agree Wenger took a gamble. He took two by not buying arteta’s replacement. Individually I think they are justifiable gambles. Both together, not so much. And neither worked out well for him or us.

        But your questioning who would have kept him. Probably no one. But no one had quite the unique circumstances as we did during the stadium build, players leaving, and paying on potential that we chose to do (with some success it has to be said. Top 4 is not nothing) That it didn’t work out is neither here nor there. At the point of Theo’s last contract negotiation, were we clamouring for him to sign? I know I was. (even if I never took to that song)

      • I think you’re being a little harsh on the ten year thing. Shard is right that at the time his contract was last renewed the last thing we wanted was a further talent drain. He had a very good 2011/13 season and if I recall correctly Tim Stillman did some stats recently that indicated his contribution (goals & assists) during his Arsenal career were par for a winger.
        That said Walcott and Wenger are not stupid and know that the fanbase and pundits have been very unsympathetic towards Walcott his past six months. Frankly its very close to an untenable situation. The manager won’t want to pick him because the crowd will be on his back for every blind alley run or turnover. And I would imagine that playing in front of 60,000 folk who are increasingly tetchy and vocal about their tetchiness must be confidence sapping. Arseblog is right, he should be sold pronto as his career has peaked and will likely never reignite at Arsenal. I love Wenger particularly for his humanity in a fiercely competitive world, but his loyalty sometimes seems like a cross to bear. If just for one day he could bring himself to be ruthless we wouldn’t be short of offers to off load Walcott. Palace for one would take him in a heartbeat probably for £30m (they bid that for Benteke).

      • Tim,why did you remove the up/down voting in the site.It was a delight to downvote all the nonsense shard came up with in defence of Arsene

  3. If you reduced the transfer fee someone would take him on his wages. You might not get 20m for him, maybe 10-15m. Sort of the Adebayor situation wherein City had to basically off-load him for practically free because he wouldn’t reduce his wage demands.

    I’d take 10m for Walcott in a heartbeat. After that Sunderland game last year where he jumped out of Kaboul’s way, that was it for me. I think these comments are signs that he’s worried Wenger will successfully bring in an actual striker – Walcott knows he’ll fall to fourth in the pecking order behind mystery striker, Giroud and Welbeck (when he returns).

    • Agree about the explanation of Theo’s comments, and that no one will take him for 30 million, and probably not for 20 million. I mean, people in English football are biased towards English players, players with pace, and players who can score (even if they do f*ck all else), so Theo has gotten way too easy a ride from fans and people in the media alike, and even now someone would take him; but I think the penny’s dropped with regards to his actual footballing ability, not just within the Arsenal fanbase but around the Premier League. So when you combine the fact that he has a lot to prove regarding whether he can really be a consistent, productive attacker–up front or on the wing–for a good PL side, with his absolutely ridiculous wage demands and his likely reluctance to leave at all, I think we’d be lucky to get 15 million for him, even in this climate. But 15, or even 10 (gulp!), to get his wages off our payroll and make more room in the squad (especially for new arrivals, e.g. a Mahrez) would be reasonable, I think. We’d probably be slaughtered for it in the press, but then we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t in that regard, so best just to ignore what the papers write about us.

  4. By the way. Where has this Chicharito rumour come from? I mean I’d love him to be our striker. A poacher like that is exactly what we missed last season. But I don’t see anything about him on newsnow.

    Wilshere out of the trip to Scandinavia. Who knows how long he’s going to be out for. But, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been added to that squad after coming back from England U19 duty. He reportedly had a great season for Ipswich, playing on the right wing. We’ve used him as a DM before. Gabriel is back too. Which is good news.

    • Yeah, I couldn’t find anything linking us to Chicharito (newsnow and Google turned up nothing). Maybe Tim is ITK!

    • I think I also has a part in that. This is my comment on the previous article (with a couple of edits)

      I don’t know Tim. He fits the bill.

      My reason:
      If you put off your ITK BS glasses:
      – What DarrenArsenal1 said: “I think we are looking at someone who may have climbed everest, has seen a change of view and wants to climb again.” The Everest is a methapohor for PL, and he is the one who already won it, then goes to La Liga and Bundesliga.
      – As an added bonus, it seems Darren also delete the tweet that said Arsenal negotiation team were in Germany. Well, Chicarito fit the bill.
      – Also, if you somehow believe that he is the “madness”, who Arsenal just need to put the cash in and without having too wait for rumbling of other team transfer business, he also fits the bill.

      Anyway, if we actually did buy him or someone of his ilk, i do feel Arsene won’t buy Mahrez. It seems Walcott comments on him as a right midfielder somewhat like a resignation that, that position might be the one who doesn’t have a certain starter unless Ox fulfill his potential.

      Well, if he is on Metro, the chance is slimming. Although his full comments are suggesting that he could move at the end of the window.

  5. “Allowing Theo Walcott to play on the right would be like metaphorically dipping Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a vat of acid, then throwing Ox’s melting body onto Campbell’s legs.”

    That was, literally, the greatest thing ever. Hemingway be damned, we have a new master among us.

  6. Some of you fans are such hypocrites that its funnt ro be honest. Always berating wenger for thinking about money so much and yet you guys are on here wanting walcott to leave coz of his wages. Why should we let go of a player whose never had an ego problem, whose never caused an issue in the dressing room? Even if he’s not great, why sell him? We can add players and keep theo. Isn’t that what the fans want? A huge squad that can challenge for trophies? we have sanchez out wide who is a great player and thats it… The ox hasn’t established himself yet and iwobi played 4 good matches last season, welbeck is injured. So cut theo some slack, the least he deserves for being at the club for 10 years is abit of respect from his own fans.

    • Wenger will never spend the money to have a huge squad full of quality players, which is why it is perfectly legitimate to desire an upgrade on Walcott (i.e., sell him, and use the fees and freed up wages on someone who actually knows what a first touch and dribble is). Walcott is “not great”? Talk about a gross misuse of a litote. He’s a liability.

      The reality is we’re stuck with him, a player who once had so much potential but now is developing an unfortunate reputation as the Turnover King.

  7. Its really unbelievable that Wenger has and still is standing by him, if he wasnt English he would be playing in the championship.

    What drives me mad is that he is always smiling in pictures and trying to talk a good game….then nothing , DO YOU NOT SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING MR. WALCOTT ??

    Finally that moment last year against Man U when he was captain for the day for his “10 years of service to the club”. This was probably the worst moment of my 20 years of supporting the Arse

    Rant Over…Good Article 😀

  8. The obvious problem with Theo is that he never developed the technical ability to be a top-level player. That needs to be developed between the ages of 8-15 or so, by the time you’re 16 it’s really too late (let alone 27), and his technical deficiencies had to be pretty clear to AW fairly early on. The club was forced to give him an extension in 2013 because of all the negative publicity over the departures of Fabregas, van Persie, Nasri, etc but I was very surprised that we gave him another extension in 2015. The willingness to persist for so long with Theo is another indication for me of the weak spot that Wenger seems to have developed for British players.

    • Exactly, people saying that we re-signed him to appease the fan base after Cesc left are forgetting that he got an extension in 2015. It was that latter extension which bumped his salary into the stratosphere and was almost completely undeserved. 21 games, 7 goals the season he got his extension; 18 apps and 6 goals the season before.

      No one is complaining about the contract in 2013. It was the extension in 2015 which was completely illogical.

    • i wasn’t so much surprised by then extension as much as i was the increase in wages. if it were me, theo would have been lucky to remain on £100k a week.

  9. Theo fails to wow and just when your sure he will not do anything, he will have a great few months, scoring regular and assisting just as often.

    Although Theo can not cut in he can stick to the sides better than both Ox and Campbell… Or Ramsey when he plays on the right. Alexis WILL be cutting in and if our other winger also cuts in without thinking then Ozil will get packed out again in the middle.

    If Alexis is playing then we need a right sided player who will stick to playing wide more often than not, this will spread the opposition and allow players like Ozil to pick the perfect pass or for Alexis to dribble through 2 or 3 players….

    I am not defending Theo but I do want to point out that if both Alxis and Ox/Campbell/Ramsey are going to be cutting in then who the heck is keeping the pitch wide by sticking to the lines? You can moan about Theo only being able to use his right foot BUT Theo will get to the byline and pull the ball back and play a low cross that way… Or he can whip in a cross for Girouds head.

    I hate to say this but have any of you wondered why Wenger didn’t play Campbell as often as you would have on the right? With Alexis fit it should have been brilliant to have Campbell doing the same on the right, right?

    Anyone thought who would be putting in crosses for Giroud to muscle in on if we had a left footed player on the right and a right footed player on the left?

    • The Ox is that player who can beat his fullback on the outside and get his cross in, rather than cutting inside. The Ox’s play is still raw and he hasn’t developed his potential as much as we might have expected at this point, but at least he has a ton of potential. He has two good feet, knows how to dribble, is really tough to knock off the ball, and is very effective burning his marker with pace and strength on the outside. Theo doesn’t cut in much because his left foot is nonexistent, but he also can barely dribble at all, and only very occasionally receive the ball, beats his man on the wing, and puts in a good cross. More often then not, if he’s not running in behind to get on the end of a through ball or ball over the top, he’s simply anonymous, not getting the ball much at all. He simply lacks the technical ability and tactical awareness to play Arsenal’s slick passing game at a high tempo, as Tim has stated above.

  10. It’s hard to disagree with you on Theo..though you are being “indulgent” with Ox..apart from pre season performances he has nothing to show for in the last couple of years..he has either been injured or just not up to the level..

    I would sell both and keep Campbell as a squad player..and invest in like a mahrez..I m sure people will disagree on selling Ox coz he has “potential”..well so did theo four years ago..look where we are now!

  11. It’s actually been painful watching Walcott play, not only in pre-season, but anytime he stepped on to the pitch last season. I think he does work hard, I think he’s a genuine and nice kid, and he clearly wants to do well, but he’s never had the technique or sharpness of mind to be a truly great footballer, and that makes me sad for him…because I think he’s now coming to that same conclusion.

    • Any time he stepped onto the pitch? Even in the game against Man Utd, widely considered to be one of his best in an Arsenal shirt?

      • Of course, every time a fan mentions that United game in Theo’s defense, I think it’s only fair to also bring up his performance in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford in the spring: trusted with the center forward’s role he was the worst player on the pitch that day (which is saying something), in the game that probably did as much as any other to damage our title chances.

      • Looking at isolated moments as exceptions tells the whole story. Add a caveat to my comment, “in general,” “with few exceptions,” or whatever, the point stands.

  12. By default, Theo was the biggest beneficiary of the mass exodus of our best players from the Cesc/RVP era. We had to prevent more players from leaving purely from a PR perspective and gave in to whatever demands Theo had. So now we have a subpar player on our hands who will be extremely difficult to unload because of his big contract. Difficult but not impossible. It really depends on how aggressively we want to cut our loss. The problem isn’t the transfer fee but no club in their right mind will pay him how much we are paying him. I think the only way we can sell him is if we subsidize his wages. If his wages were more “normal”, I would say he would be going for about £25-£30 mill transfer fee with a wage packet of roughly £90k/wk. Assuming he makes £140/wk at Arsenal and has 2 years left on his contract, if we sell him for £25 mil and gets a 4 year contract with same wages, that’s about £10.4 million we have to subsidize by paying the difference of £50k/wk to get him off our books and still have a positive cash flow of almost £20 million from the whole transaction. It’s not a lot in today’s crazy market, but I think we should do it.

    Unfortunately the Arsenal transfer train is more like the slow commuter trains in the US rather than the bullet trains in Europe and Japan. I believe we are stuck with him for at least one more season. Hey, maybe he will surprise us and score a few goals.

  13. The article overlooks one key fact: Theo is English and home-grown. That makes a massive difference when 8 out of the 25 slots are earmarked for those people.

    “Huge salary, mentally gone, technically not at the top level. Who wants that?”

    This sentence could describe most of the England squad.

    I have no doubt Theo would have been moved on a lot earlier if he wasn’t home grown. But there’s little point of moving someone on if you aren’t able to replace him with someone better. Which homegrown players have been available to us as a potential upgrade to Theo? Very few. We already have the two other names that come to mind, Welbeck and the Ox. Both of whom have been seriously injured or coming off injury for most of the last two years.

    I mean, look at Citeh. They spent 50 million on another homegrown right winger who is mentally frail, vastly overpaid, and hasn’t delivered on his potential. So spending big on British right-wingers hasn’t exactly worked out great for other clubs recently.

  14. # START_RANT#

    If you remove the age factor, isn’t walcott’s arsenal’s debacle a bit similar to Henry’s juve’s? If you read running into blind alleys, playing against defence minded opposition being counterproductive, not able to influence the game…which player do you think of? These are problems that plagued his juve days. Enough has been made about his non selection over lesser players like Campbell(seriously not arsenal level player) and iwobi and his lack of challenge against Sunderland team both here and on areeblog but having loss faith of Wenger then and now been unsold and getting ready for another season on the wings/CF is contradictory itself…he had just returned from another injury and going into 50 50 again…he jumped off…I remember bale doing the same thing when he played for tottenham. You can’t expect the player returning from successive injuries to be top on mental and physical aspect…it’s a big season for him..yes we know what he offers and what he not…it’s not his fault that we are unable to bring strikers in…rather than squabbling about past performances(that he rightly said) we should get behind them.

    #END_RANT#

    • I’m going to say it: NO. I will not “just support the players” because they wear red and white.

      And if that’s the attitude you want to take, I suggest only reading arsenal.com.

    • “If you remove the age factor”

      ===

      In the context of your argument, that’s a bit like telling someone that nuclear bombs are fine if you remove the explody part.

      • I absolutely love this one and in the context of revelations about the orange one maybe the US Nuclear Branch might consider doing just that.

        Also with Tim on the -No we dont support just because they wear the shirt.
        This is a fan forum to debate the future, structure improvement etc of our team. It has no bearing on the reality.
        Now being in the stadium and relentlessly abusing a player is not helpful, counter productive etc and should only be used as the nuclear option. I was there when Eboue came on and the booing was, I felt, directed at the manager for such a ridiculous sub. Eboue took it to heart as it was the culmination of criticism (entirely justified he was a clusterf*ck) but it certainly didn’t help his performance but it was the end of a VERY long road.
        I think we might be getting close to that point with Theo. He has been eternally frustrating but sometimes I wonder whether tactics are the problem. I love that generally all our players are good on the ball and can take a pass to feet but sometimes it feels thats all we do. There have been too many times where the opportunity has been on for a ball over the top between full back and CB which would have utilised Theo’s pace and limited his thinking time but he didn’t show; the CM wasn’t really looking for it; the oppotunity passed. So why is it not part of the armoury? Variety would keep the defence on their toes and reduce the clogging of midfield.

  15. I think the idea that Arsene doesn’t want to ‘kill’ younger players has been blown out of proportion somewhat. Usually when it’s mentioned it’s in a negative light. It’s rarely if ever brought up as a compliment. And it’s usually to suggest that Arsene sticks with mediocre players rather than investing in the market.

    From what I remember this quote originated around the time of Denilson, Bendtner etc, and in my opinion that was such a different time. We couldn’t afford big stars and had enough trouble just trying to keep hold of any of our good players. In that case I think the statement and ethos made a lot of sense.

    Nowadays, despite what a lot of people think, I feel Arsene is a lot more ruthless, and if the statement still applies I think it’s more about giving obvious potential like Bellerin a chance. Her very young and he might make mistakes but he’s just too good to be a backup. You could probably add The Coq as well. He had a great season, was one of the leagues best players, so Arsene gave him his chance.

    If Arsene was still all about protecting only decent youth players that doesn’t seem to apply to Gibbs, who is a decent player but Arsene had no problem relegating him to the bench. Sczeney was given his chance but after one to many mistakes he’s now in Rome. The Coq, even after his good form, might be relegated to the bench to make way for Xhaka.

    I guess I’m just saying that while I think he does show players a lot of support and gives them a chance to fulfill their potential, now that we have a bit more money, I don’t think Arsene gives average young players much more of a chance to breakthrough than any other team that has to rely, at least partly, on it’s youth system.

    In fairness though, if there’s an exception to the rule it has to be Theo. Is there any other player that’s been at a club 10 years and is still sort of selected because of what he ‘might’ become. It’s hard to argue that he’s had more than 2 good years out of 10, and at 27 it’s hard to see any major change in his game at this stage.

    I agree with Shard though. The last time his contract was up most of us seemed to want him to sign the thing. Not only had he been playing well but when he signed it showed we could finally hold on to a high profile player that was possibly interested in moving away. His signing was possibly as important for psychological and business reasons as it was for footballing reasons. Sadly it doesn’t seem to be working out for the player or the team and that pay rise has become more of a hinderance.

    • We did want him to “sign da ting” and he did. That was 2013 on the back of a great season.

      However, his contract was extended last summer. His wages were raised to £140k a week. That was on the back of just 14 goals in two years as an off/on CF.

      That’s the contract most people are upset about.

      • I didn’t realize he got another extension last summer. That’s definitely more of a puzzler. It is a weird one because I do think Arsene has shown he’s willing to offload players who aren’t cutting it. At this point I probably say Arsene must be seeing something in training that warrants the faith he has in him, but it’s more and more difficult to see whatever it is he’s seeing regarding Theo.

        I like the new set up. I’d be quite happy if the thumbs up/down didn’t return. It’s nice not to have to think about them ha ha.

  16. Theo and his agent played hardball- Arsenal blinked first.
    Too bad Theo does not play hardball on the field, except for the 1 time he blew out his knee, yes that was a sacrifice.

    27 days to go- still need a CB and striker…

  17. I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of Theo. Basically he is a disappointment. On other note, what happened to the comment display? Is it just me that doesn’t have a like/dislike and avatar display on the comment section? Also when using mobile phone, the comment display is different than when using pc/laptop. Usually that is not the case, the display is like one comment after one comment. Any of you have that kind of problem?

  18. Theo’s tale is ultimately a sad one made sadder by Winger’s indulgence exacerbated by mismanagement of his career.

    I do verily believe that this lad who I like so much as epitomized by that iconic photo of him at the Tottenham match, should have gone on to great things as a great Arsenal player.

    I blame the manager more than the player for this for some of the reasons Tom has articulated bit also because of his general tendency to invest too much of himself in a player project and not be ruthless enough when necessary. Welcome would have benefited hugely from ruthlessness rather than indulgence.

    It’s just sad. If he can resurrect his career at this club at this point it will be a huge credit to him.

  19. I’ve just watched new boy Takuma Asano play in the Olympics match between Japan and Nigeria. It was a 5-4 victory for Nigeria. Asano played the last 45 when Japan were already trailing. He made an instant impact and scored a neat backheel and then hit the post. He played as second striker on a 4-4-2 and his style is quite similar to James Vardy’s in that he never stops running and always try to find the space to make himself available for a pass. Unlucky for him, his team was very poor and service wasnt great. Also i think the fact that Nigeria arrieved to Brasil 6 hours prior to the match and hence they were knackered in the end, made him look good. At least i think he secure a starting place for the next match.
    Regarding Walcott, how many would agree in doing a Schweinsteiger on him? That seems to be the only way of getting rid of an overpaid player. I wouldnt go to that extreme, but it amuse me to think what treatment would Mourinho give to Walcott if thats the way he treats a player that have won everything there is to win

  20. Haven’t seen many reports linking us with Arda Turan. Surely he ticks all the Arsene/Arsenal boxes.A well regarded player, not wanted by a bigger team, could probably be picked up relatively cheaply, and doesn’t fulfill any of our most pressing needs. 🙂

    And on another note, I know the answer is probably no, but if the choice is him or nobody, and he’s available, how about Baliotelli?

  21. Its a funny situation. I remember two seasons back when Theo was on the verge of leaving the club, I was one of the many people wishing Arsenal tie him down to a better contract. At that point, before the injury in the Spurs game, we used to value him so much and I am sure Wenger did as well.

    His dip in form since, last season has been shambolic. Yes, he showed traces of good form with Leicester away and United home but, other than those two games, nothing comes to mind. No one would have seen this coming, I am sure not even Wenger thought he would go so bad.

    If we are stuck with him, which seems to be the case, we cannot kill chances for others like Ox and Joel to grow. Arsenal will have to try and sell and if not, use him from the bench.

    This may be another reason why we have don’t seem to try harder for the likes of Draxler and Mahrez which is a shame really !!!

  22. Chicharito has always reminded me of a quicker, less outrageously skilled version of Eduardo but as our forward purchase to push us over the top, I’m not so sure. Given his clever positioning and runs he’d probably dovetail with Özil and Sanchez better than Giroud but he’s never struck me as being a bonafide starter for a team with real ambitions for a title. Still, we desperately need a forward I’d certainly take him over nothing. Unlike Balotelli who is a toxic cancer.

    As for Walcott, I was dismayed that we allowed him to bully us into paying him Özil and Sanchez like money. Paying a fringe performer like him that much pretty much blows your salary structure out of the water. If you’re going to blow up your wage scale, I’d much rather you do it on a rent-a-superstar like Ibra than a journeyman like Theo.

  23. Right now , signing Chicharito would send me over the moon. Thats how low my expectations are. Still i have a feeling Chicharito is a natural fit and i think i prefer him to Lacassette. His end at Man U was rather underwhelming but he was clearly low on confidence, he is now back on track at Leverkusen.

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