Theo Walcott’s contract situation is finely-poised with less than 48 hours left in the transfer window, with the Arsenal winger’s future hanging in the balance.
With less than a year left on his existing deal at the Emirates Stadium, the England international has refused a new five-year £75,000-a-week contract from the Gunners, with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool keeping tabs on the situation. With the attacker reportedly asking for a staggering £100,000-a-week to kick footballs for a living, one has to question his motivations and whether he is thinking of money or success.
Arsenal seem to find themselves in this predicament more than most other clubs, with the likes of Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie bullying Arsene Wenger into a sale with less than 12 months left on their contracts. The case of Walcott will be particularly frustrating for the French coach given the fact that he brought the wideman to north London as a youngster back in 2006, has nurtured him into the player he is today and has stood by Walcott amid criticism over poor form last season.
Arsenal’s well-documented financial discipline means the Gunners’ players do not earn as much as they would at the likes of Manchester City or other top four clubs, and Walcott’s will have this at the back of his mind. Yes, there is an argument that the likes of Nasri and Van Persie have left the Emirates Stadium in the search of silverware, which has been limited for the Gunners of late – their last success was in the 2005 FA Cup. However, the fact that City and Manchester United have given the departing Arsenal stars a considerable pay rise must also play a major part in their decision-making process.
The latest news on the situation is that Wenger and Walcott have come to a short-term agreement that the player will not be sold during this transfer window, with the contract situation to be assessed once more in a couple of months. This may well change however if an increasingly-desperate Manchester City launch a considerable bid for Walcott’s services, which would bring an end to the situation and allow Wenger to get on with things with players that are actually motivated to play for the club.
If Walcott does end up staying at the club for at least another couple of months until the January transfer window, it may well be a source of disruption in the Gunners’ dressing room, with the uncertainty over a player’s future sure to act as an unwelcome distraction. As yet it remains to be seen whether Walcott will look for a wage increase elsewhere or buck the trend of departing Arsenal stars and show some loyalty to the club that has made him who he is today.