Arsene Wenger on Theo Walcott – When a player doesn’t want to stay you either force him or let him go. After selling both Robin van Persie and Alex Song, it seems Arsenal are about to lose another key player in Walcott, with only one year left on his contract.
Whatever it was that Wenger has built over the last few years, it suddenly all falls apart in a week. After Robin van Persie backed down from his transfer request, in came Manchester United and Alex Ferguson with a £24 million offer. Arsenal opened their 2012-2013 season against Sunderland without a true striker in the lineup, a-la Spain.
Alex Song, out of nowhere, became the next Arsenal player to make the coveted road from London to Barcelona, moving to the Catalan giants for £15 million in one of the most surprising moves of the summer. Next up? Theo Walcott, who already said that if Van Persie does actually leave, he might not be so interested in staying with the Gunners.
Walcott did play for Arsenal against Sunderland, even getting four shots on goal, but he needs a true striker to play off of and feed the ball to. He’s not a target man, and he needs to play with one. He did have nine minutes with Olivier Giroud (coming on for Podolski) before Andrei Arshavin came on for Walcott, so maybe there’s still a chance he’ll change his mind.
But this week has shown us one thing – Players don’t see Arsenal as the big club of their dreams. It’s a stepping stone to bigger and probably better. Walcott may not be the great talent many thought he might develop into or he still thinks he is, but in the right scheme and formation, he’s fantastically efficient thanks to his speed and underrated passing ability. Problem is, Arsenal are losing pieces, and the piece that was Walcott’s biggest drive for staying.
Wenger, whatever the decision will be, will just role with the punches. Podolski offers a nice goal-scoring threat from the wing and so does Cazorla. Giroud might turn out to be an efficient goalscorer, eventually, although I’m a bit skeptical about his chances to succeed in the Premier League. Santi Cazorla is simply a very good player, no matter where you place him. But Arsenal are losing more than they gain in terms of quality. Money and profits are nice, but they don’t get you titles when you don’t actually spend them on premier players.