Much has been made of Theo Walcott’s future in recent weeks and it is believed that Arsene Wenger is to sit down with him after the FA Cup final, when Walcott signed his previous deal back in 2013 he was in a much stronger position so where does he fit into this Arsenal squad?
Make no mistake Theo Walcott is still seen as an integral part of Wenger’s squad, he showed his quality on the final day at home to West Brom with an impressive hat trick in a 4-1 win. Expect Arsenal to use the current contract situation to their advantage for Saturdays FA cup final.
Many expect Walcott to start against Aston Villa following his encouraging return last Sunday and he has a point to prove that he is worth his wage demands, Olivier Giroud rarely plays in cup games so it would be surprising to see no Walcott from the start.
The England international who is now 26 is sure to be hungry for success with him missing out on last years cup triumph, added to that is the confidence boost from his recent hat trick. Walcott looked sharp and the one thing the Aston Villa side lack is pace so the inclusion of Walcott could be vital.
Walcott’s contract situation SHOULD be cut and dry, the player clearly wants to stay at the club that has been his home since 2006 and there is no rush to move him on. The former Southampton winger is entering his prime for an attacker but will obviously want the club to show how much they value him by giving him a wage increase, this could potentially be an issue from the perspective of the club. Walcott has his injury problems which is more than likely the main reason why Arsenal have taken so long to enter into contract negotiations.
There is one major difference from 2 and 1/2 years ago (when Walcott signed his current deal) his role in the squad his diminished since then, back in 2013 he played a pivotal role in the Arsenal first team but in his absence new signing Alexis Sanchez has thrived so in the club’s eyes Walcott will have to go someway to convince the board of his worth, his recent performance against West Brom and his form before his long term injury you would assume could be enough. It is undeniable that Walcott gives the side an extra dimension in the final third.
Arsenal are reportedly keeping one eye on Raheem Sterling’s Liverpool future but he really is not the answer, it would be a surprise to see Sterling leave this Summer as he has 2 years left after this Summer. The Anfield club will demand around £60 million for the player which is just not viable for a player that has great potential but has flattered to deceive this season. Arsenal are no longer in a financial position where they need to go for potential with recent signings of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez they are now in a strong position where they can go for the tried and tested.
The confirmation of a Walcott contract extension is by no means 100% guaranteed but Arsenal should be trying to move heaven and earth to keep the winger, there are not many players around with the pace that Walcott has and now he has developed into a player that is capable of giving any defence a nightmare on his day, the squad would be weakened without him presence.
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