Theo Walcott’s demands for a £100,000-a-week contract is seriously sticking somewhere awful in my head. I don’t know what his agent is telling him, but in the vain hope he’s looking around the bottom of the barrel of Arsenal blogs (he isn’t), I’d hope some of these home truths become apparent to him.
- Theo is not deserving to be Arsenal’s highest-earning player
- The team is not reliant on him and thus he should accept a salary more in line with reality
- The rumoured £70,000-a-week offer is hardly ‘peanuts’, unless he’s been talking to Ashley Cole
- A season spent on the bench won’t get you that move to Chelsea. Liverpool might be a different matter.
- His competition for a spot on the Arsenal flank is exceeding him. One is a player who has recovered from the same sort of criticism Theo received (Gervinho), the other is a street smart kid who earns less than him (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain).
Even within the England squad, Theo has yet to surpass his competition. While age had the beating of David Beckham and mediocrity proved too much for David Bentley, Walcott now finds himself behind the likes of Ashley Young and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Both have pace to burn, but possess greater improvisational skills and acumen than Theo. Young too has a much better sense of where the goal is; a talent Walcott could have possessed with a bit more confidence. Meanwhile Oxlade-Chamberlain comes close to matching Theo’s pace, while adding the brains of a central midfielder.
England is worth a mention because so often, players with international caps compare what they earn to teams from other clubs. Player power has seen a higher mobility of once ‘loyal’ players and big end transfers that in previous years were never thought possible.
Yet while Theo will think he should earn X amount per week because Ashley Young earns Y, he is surely not seeing the bigger picture when it comes to his place in the pecking order, both nationally and at Arsenal.
He is no longer first choice in his position in either set-up. A player who earns far, far less than he, Oxlade-Chamberlain, is improving in leaps and bounds and is currently first choice right midfielder for England. For Arsenal, it’s a toss-up between the 19-year-old and the ever improving Gervinho. Walcott is a sorry third-choice in that regard.
Yet here is a player that is demanding to be Arsenal’s highest paid player when he clearly has next to no influence in the side.
How well have Arsenal been playing without the need for his one dimensional pace? Walcott’s stalled development has seen Sunderland defenders figure out how to stop him, whereas both Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain adapt their games to try and outfox, rather than outsprint, their marker.
A team that is governed by the smarts of Mikel Arteta and the flair of Santi Cazorla has meant Theo has been but a footnote in this season.
I actually feel sorry for the man, given how badly informed he is, thanks to a money-grabbing agent. Is it even possible that Theo, usually so level headed and mild mannered, could be personally willing to sign on the dotted line, only to be thwarted by his ‘representative’ who will demand a slice of a bigger pie?
Arsene Wenger is playing a wily game with Theo’s demands. He’s been shown he is far from the top dog at Arsenal, and after the disruption that was a certain Dutchman and Cameroonian, the manager looks like he’s had enough of pandering to ungrateful players.