Walcott poised to sign new deal but do you care?
By Nick Webster
Theo Walcott is poised to sign a new Arsenal contract this week, according to my sources at Emirates Stadium. Once pen finally hits paper one would imagine a huge sigh of relief around North London as it means that the core of squad is settled and ready to knuckle down and end this epic trophy drought however I'm not impressed.
The fact that Walcott was demanding should a huge pay rise has got my shackles up. If we're honest what's he done to help the Arsenal cause over the last seven years. He's been nothing but inconsistent, he's developing a whinny attitude and this claim that he's ready to be a leader falls on deaf ears in my book.
If Walcott could produce the goods like his hero, Thierry Henry week in-week out I might see him in a different light but it feels that when the chips are down, Walcott is hard to find unlike Henry who would put the team on his shoulders in moments of high pressure.
Talking of Arsene Wenger has been under an intense amount of the stuff as the critics, fans and seemingly anyone with an opinion has rounded on the Gunners boss demanding him to leave but Wenger still feels he has a trophy in him and with the England international close to finalising improved terms following fruitful talks over the last fortnight, the Frenchman feels that the puzzle is almost complete after fellow Brits Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson all signed new five-year deals shortly before Christmas.
It is understood that Walcott will put pen to paper on a deal that runs until 2017. The 23-year-old's salary will climb to around 110,000-euros-a-week under the new agreement, which will be bolstered by top-up bonuses and a multi-million pound signing-on fee. Not bad money for someone who has never hit the 20 goal-a-season mark and has one good match followed by two indifferent performances.
Walcott has indicated his desire to stay at Emirates Stadium after being offered an improved package by Arsenal. He has also been encouraged that Arsene Wenger has lived up to his promise of giving him opportunities to play in his favourite centre-forward role and make that transition from wing to center much like Henry.
Walcott has started Arsenal's last five matches up front, scoring four goals, including a hat-trick against Newcastle United. Despite being regularly overlooked by Wenger in the first three months of the season, he leads the club's scoring charts with 14 goals however I think that injuries, lack of form and attitude had much to do with Wenger's indifference to the England international.
But a New Year brings new optimism and both parties are confident the new deal will be signed by the end of the week, which will then allow Wenger to concentrate on reinforcing Arsenal's squad. The Frenchman has set his sights on acquiring a senior striker from Spain and he's thinking ambitiously, with David Villa and Adrian Lopez his top two targets.
Should Arsenal secure the signing's of either players a message of intent will have been sent and perhaps, the belief that has been missing over the last few years will return and the drought will come to and end.