The end of the Theo Walcott contract saga was greeted with smiles and sighs. A drawn out-process that should’ve been resolved months ago finally ended with the official club website releasing a photo of Walcott and Wenger smiling as the former put pen to paper on a new three and half year deal worth £100,000 a week.
“I am very happy to have signed a new contract here at Arsenal. Thanks to everyone for their continued support, especially the manager, everyone at the club and most importantly the fans. I have made it clear from the start that I wanted to stay at Arsenal so I am pleased we have agreed a deal that everyone is happy with. What’s important now is for the team to realise its potential and win trophies.”
Ah, the trophies. I’m fine with the deal. Four months ago Walcott turned down a £80,000 offer. He insisted his best position was central striker, and was given the opportunity to prove himself in the role at Reading on December 17th. The ensuing 5-2 victory and Walcott’s contributions to the result indicated he relished the chance to be Arsenal’s hit man up front.
Twelve days later Walcott backed up his claim to the CF mantle made famous by the Arsenal stars of old. With Thierry Henry looking on, Walcott scored three times—the final goal an instant contender for POY. Twitter, message boards and radio call in shows ignited. Pay him what he wants and so forth. I was one of those people—thankfully I restrained myself from making an expensive phone call overseas.
As far as his career development goes, Walcott remains somewhere in between those frustrating days on the wing and his (few) triumphs up front. Theo Walcott is not Robin Van Persie or Cesc Fabregas, but that doesn’t matter. In recent weeks the club has managed to lock up their young core to reasonable deals well within the club’s means. The infamous wage restrictions that plague Arsenal remain in place—the Cavani rumors are made even more ridiculous with that in mind—but Walcott is not overpaid. He received what the market dictated. Whether that was because Wenger could not sell him at a price that justified his value to the club is still the subject of rumour, at least for now.
We would do well to find some balance ourselves, as supporters of a club that has been mired in a ‘our players/board don’t care for us’ malaise of our own. Wednesday’s battle of attrition at the Emirates rekindled calls for Walcott to find his way back to the wing, or the hinterlands of Eastern Europe, depending on which unhinged fan you ran into outside of the pub.
If he didn’t the sign the world was going to come to an end. Now that he has, anger over the term and/or cost of the contract have seeped out of the cesspool that is the sphere of social media. It’s a long year. EDR says Arsenal needs to take a break. Perhaps they do *removes shotgun from mouth* but not in the way he suggests. Take a break from whinging about what should’ve happened and what did.
Get Sagna’s extension done. Stop leaving these things till the final hour, subjecting yourselves to endless speculation that’s made worse by Wenger’s vague decrees. Add one more player (or two) on the transfer market and move forward.
The end of WSCI closes a tumultuous chapter in recent Gunners history. Remember it, just don’t dwell there.