Walcott’s rumoured departure will be a loss but then again, will it?
So this summer is all about where RVP is finally going to land. City is probably the destination. It probably checks off all the boxes in RVP’s to do list. But the next big thing on the radar is Theo Walcott’s contract renewal and from the looks of things there appears to be no hurry on the part of the winger to re-sign. Which does not bode well the longer this goes on. Lets look at the things that might play a part in making a choice and if we can put a spin on it.
Arrested development: At 23 years, Walcott should clearly be approaching the finished product stage but he’s not. He spends lots of time without the ball which might not count for much if he was very good when he actually had it. When he does get the ball he is more likely to get dispossessed or over run.
As a winger he is particularly unproductive making fewer crosses and less effective ones despite being one of the quickest players on the flanks. Amongst his peers he has the lowest crossing accuracy and pass completion percentages. Valencia, Nani, Bale, and Lennon, are all streets ahead of him. Things get a bit better in front of goal where he scored eight and created more chances than a number of others. His direct running style which has little guile is more suited for a second striker role.
All of this may change but one of the reasons Walcott had a better second half last season was his connection with Van Persie. With Arsenal’s captain gone, he may struggle to recreate that success.
Second fiddle to Alex Oxlade Chamberlain: Given poorer stats compared to his peers, Walcott’s main threat is not from them but from within. The Ox full of raw talent has the potential to step into Walcott’s shoes and has played some invigorating minutes. He has the power to provoke as his scintillating set up led to Van Persie’s equalizer against Utd and then left the pitch much to his captain and fans chagrin. Walcott will be acutely aware that his Southampton understudy could make life much harder for him with those sort of displays. There are already signs. The Ox is a better dribbler and has a better pass completion percentage in just under 6 hours played in the Premiership.
Walcott could well be thinking of an exit strategy where he won’t have to keep looking back over his shoulder.
Lack of titles, more money: The age old problem of playing for Arsenal. The same tired seven years going on without a title and a ceiling when it comes to getting paid wages. These could well be abstractions but Walcott has seen enough examples of players moving from Arsenal to other leagues or clubs within the Premiership and finding instant success at more lucrative salaries.
The thought of a winners medal gleaming around his neck while enjoying a fatter bank account might tempt Walcott into exiting and joining Ashley Cole, Kolo Toure, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, and Gael Clichy who have found success away from Arsenal.
If Walcott should leave then it will be just add more grist to the mill of a club that cannot hold onto its players. In reality, it might actually be a good thing because with the sale money we might be able to buy a winger who can actually deliver. Van Persie’s departure is a different thing altogether. There is no way a 30 goal scorer can be replaced with a forward line of Gervinho, Podolski, Giroud, and Ox, who have scored 6 Premiership goals all put together.