Arsenal: Would you let Theo Walcott leave?
Having already lost captain Robin van Persie and Alex Song this summer Arsene Wenger is preparing to lose a third star from his ranks before the transfer window slams shut this Friday.
Reports in the English media this morning claim that negotiations on a new contract with England winger Theo Walcott have broken down and that the former Southampton man has just 48 hours to agree to the terms or be sold.
Liverpool and Manchester City have been asked to be kept up to date with the situation but is Wenger just playing hardball with Walcott or is he really going to allow the winger leave?
Walcott has never really been a universally loved figure at the Emirates. He arrived at Arsenal in 2006 as one of the most exciting young talents around. His blistering pace and eye for goals at Southampton caught Wenger's eye and the Frenchman was determined to work with him. However, after six years at the Emirates, Walcott's game has hardly improved. He still has the blistering pace, but his first touch and ability to cross a ball still leaves a lot to be desired.
However, when he is on form he is unstoppable. Everyone remembers his hat-trick for England in Croatia and last season's amazing goal against Chelsea at the Bridge. But there was one game that sums Theo Walcott's game up in a nutshell. Arsenal v Spurs at the Emirates. The Gunners were two down and Walcott couldn't even pass wind or cross a road. He was truly awful and the fans let him and Wenger know how they felt. Walcott though came out for the second half and grabbed a cool brace to ensure the Gunners ran out 5-2 winners. It appeared to be a turning point in his Arsenal career, but Wenger may decide that Walcott's future lays elsewhere.
With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain banging on the door, Wenger probably feels that he has enough cover in the wide positions to cope without Walcott, but again we are left asking the same old question: Why does Wenger allow contract talks to run down to the final year? Every year it is the same and Wenger never seems to learn.
In fairness, I don't think losing Walcott, who is a massive Liverpool fan, would be too much of a blow. The Ox looks a much better prospect. He is stronger, technically superior and can play anywhere Wenger wants him. But why are Arsenal selling all their star names? They haven't won a trophy since 2005 and in that time they have let the likes of Henry, Vieira, Fabregas, Nasri, RVP, Song, Adebayor, Clichy and Toure leave. Why?
Arsenal are one of the most financially stable clubs in the game. Every year they post a profit, but every year they end up trophyless. Fans don't care about the balance sheet, they only care about winning leagues and cups.
Walcott is being offered a five-year deal with a weekly wage of £75,000. But he wants more. He is reportedly looking for a figure closer to the £100,000 mark. Arsenal could easily afford to increase their pay structure, but on this occasion I think they are right. Walcott has done little to deserve such a contract and Arsenal should be commended for sticking to their guns. They maybe should have offered more to keep Robin van Persie or Cesc Fabregas at the club - although Cesc was going back to Barca regardless of what Arsenal offered him - but Walcott, no way. Not in my opinion.
So unless Walcott agrees to the deal on the table it looks as though the youngster has already played his last game for the club. But would you be happy about that?
Calling all Arsenal fans: Would you let Walcott leave or would you push the boat out to keep him at the Emirates? How concerned are you about the number of big name players who keep departing Arsenal every summer? Have Arsenal become a selling club? Do you think Wenger is to blame for this or do you think he should be commended for sticking to his guns and not paying silly money for players who can't even cross a ball? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.
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