Theo signs new deal – what can he achieve at Arsenal?

The main news concerning Arsenal this morning is the revelation that Theo Walcott has committed his future to the club by signing a four-year-deal worth £60,000 a week.

Walcott Djourou and Fabregas at Arsenal

This news was expected, but is still very good to hear. Since joining the club back in 2006 from Southampton, Walcott has made a significant impact in Arsenal colours and has firmly established himself in Arsene Wenger’s starting eleven.

In total, he has made 103 appearances for the club and has found the back of the net on 14 occasions. Speaking about signing a new deal, Walcott said that he was ‘absolutely delighted’ to show his loyalty to the Arsenal cause.

The England international went on to say that he is ‘so happy’ at the Emirates because he is working with the ‘best manager in the world’ in Arsene Wenger. Walcott was also very thankful to everyone who had helped him get to ‘this point in my career’.

One of the final points that Walcott made was that he anticipated ‘many successful seasons ahead’ and this is the point I wanted to touch upon today – what can Walcott achieve as a player? Just how good is he?

By the time his contract runs its course in four years time, there is no doubt that Walcott will want to win some trophies with Arsenal. There is only so long he can be an integral part in the ‘potential’ of this team.

In fact, should Walcott start to perform like a world-class player on a more consistent basis, it could lead to some of the other Arsenal youngsters to kick on. Therefore, the team as a whole can become more serious about challenging for major trophies.

So, in my opinion, Walcott is integral to Arsenal’s future. He is one of the most talented youngsters in the team and his rise could coincide with the team’s rise. When he is in the starting eleven and on form, Arsenal are a better team. This could be even more the case in the coming years.

How good is Walcott though? When you compare him with Cristiano Ronaldo, is he at anywhere near the same level? Possibly not. However, he could be as important to Arsenal as Ronaldo is to Manchester United. They are different players, but he can be as influential.

Opposition teams need to fear Walcott every time they play Arsenal. He needs to become the man that they put two players on in an attempt to halt his progress. Then, players such as Andrei Arshavin can run riot elsewhere on the pitch.

There is no doubt that Walcott was disappointing in the two games against Manchester United. This may well be down to his lack of games, but I would still like to have seen more from him.

The next couple of seasons are crucial to Walcott’s future. He needs to show just how good he is on a more consistent basis. He needs to be in contention for the PFA Players Player of the year every season and he needs to help Arsenal progress as a team to win more trophies.

There is plenty of pressure on Walcott’s shoulders, but he can handle it. Show us what you’ve got Theo. You are the future of Arsenal Football Club.

By Thomas Rooney

Arsenal 3 – 1 Plymouth Highlights. Cardiff next in the FA Cup & Walcott’s contract frustration

Arsenal 3 -1 Plymouth: Van Persie 47, Gray 50 og, Duguid 53, Van Persie 85. Highlights here.

Arsenal put themselves through to a 4th Round tie at Ninian Park in the FA Cup after a 3 – 1 victory over Plymouth.

The first half was all Arsenal, but to little effect. We had few shots on goal and the possesion we had didn’t have an impact. It was good to see Ramsey play, I thought he had a good game, Gunnerblog has a few points about him here.

The second half started with a bang, two Arsenal goals, RVP got the first from a corner and then a Gray own goal just minutes later.

Plymouth came back with a goal and their 8,500 fans went mental. It was quite refreshing to see some more enthusiatic support in the Emirates this season. The sombreros went flying through the air to shouts of ole! when Vela came on, and to good effect.

Our third goal was deserved, RVP attempted a lob, the keeper deflected it, and RVP went round him to put the ball in off the underside of the bar.

In other news, all is quiet on the transfer front, but Walcott’s agent claims Theo is frustrated that Arsenal have not continued contract talks started in November. He still has 18 months remaining, but it would be sad to lose another player on a free.

Gilberto warns players about leaving + Song gets a new deal.

Gilberto, ever the model professional last season, has warned the Arsenal players against leaving the club. This is something I have always empasized, why leave when our current team has such great potential, the players are likely to regret it.

He had this to say about players leaving:

“I don’t know what they have in mind but they should stay a little bit longer, maybe they want to try something different, but they could develop themselves and achieve big things at Arsenal.

“The team is young and getting better. It could be really special if the players all stay. What is important is to keep everyone at the club, for them to stay long-term at the club.

“I haven’t spoken to them since the end of the season but in my opinion Arsenal is still a great, great club and fantastic for any player in the world.

It would be a good thing for them to stay at the club because they know each other very well. They have a better situation than last season and could use the feeling of disappointment as an inspiration for next season.

Well said Bert, you know what you are talking about. A lot of people are suprised with how well Gilberto has taken his demotion to the bench during the last season, and now how he speaks about the club with such passion. This is real devotion if you ask me, and I think Gilberto really wants to make something good at Arsenal, thats why he’s saying this.

Gilberto goes on to make a very rational point about contracts, this is so relevant in the current climate, where everyone seems to be demanding that Arsenal pay players whatever they want.

When you win things you achieve more than anybody else. It follows that you get better contracts and more money,”

“Most of the players who leave miss the club for lots of reasons. The lifestyle at Arsenal is fantastic. You get so well looked after.”

Basically he is saying, you don’t know how good you have it, so stay and make something good of your career, you don’t want to end up like Anelka, who says he regrets leaving Arsenal a lot… 

Looking forward to next season Gilberto wants to stay and help win something with us:

“Next season will be very important for the club and the players. They must win something to keep the ambition of everybody and to maintain the hope of every player.

“If we don’t win anything next year it will be difficult to keep everybody happy. If you don’t see any possibility of winning the title they will change their minds.

“I do want to stay. It depends when I come back if Arsene wants me to stay. I still have one year left on my contract. I’m happy to stay at the club. I will wait until I return to London and pre-season training on 21 July and then I will sit down and talk about it.”

In other contract news, Alex Song has signed a new long term deal with Arsenal, which will prompt people to believe he has a chance at becoming our next defensive midfielder, or a long term option at centre back.

Hill-Wood slams greed while Sagna signs on like a good boy

Arsenal have rewarded Bacary Sagna with a new contract until 2014. The news came out a few days ago but we now know the length of the deal.

“I love Arsenal, they are a great club. The manager is also very good and next season we will be fighting for all the trophies.”

Sagna is definitely the best right-back in the Premiership and was our top signing last summer. In typical Wenger style, he arrived with little furore and proceeded to play amzingly all season.

The fact that we have renewed his contract after just one season at the club is good, it means we can hold onto a top player, but it also reveals the state of the transfer system at the moment.

With players like Hleb being linked away from the club with this Webster Clause and others like Flamini leaving, it seems that we are putting in a concerted effort to keep the team together and happy in their contracts. I have no problem with this, but it does show that the club is a bit more wary of loyalty issues now.

Peter Hill-Wood made comments about the same issue, speaking harshly about the lack of loyalty which is present in football these days:

“Nowadays, a lot of people sign four-year contracts and you heave a sigh of relief. Six months later they come marching in saying they want double the wages.
“The only answer is to tell them they are on that contract and that’s it. Unless you do that, the game will become chaotic and descend into anarchy.

“I think there are very few people who have really got the tradition of the club at heart. You can name them on one hand. Actually I can’t name them on one hand and that’s a great pity.”

“In the old days money was not the big driving force. Nobody was greedy. People didn’t come marching in for pay rises, be they executives, senior managers, players, whatever. People weren’t motivated by the money. They liked the job, they liked the club and they wanted to go to work in the morning. Everyone has become much more materialistic.

“I think that is one of the reasons why Arsene [Wenger] signs younger players. OK, they will probably walk out in five years but at least he has the opportunity to mould them. But some of the so-called stars have got their own ideas about what should happen and don’t always agree with what we think.”

“We are going to go on this way. We are not going to be diverted. We are not going to spend £100 million,”

This is apparent in players like Flamini and possibly Hleb. I am all for sticking to our guns and doing things the way we have been doing them. Arsenal as a club know that we are not like the Chelseas of this world and we don’t have to spend oceans of money to be the best in the league.

Click here for more Arsenal News!

Flamini Contract And Reading Preview

Reading, Saturday 19th April, 1245 KO. Ashburton Grove

I’ll be at this game. Click here for BBC preview.

Line Up


Toure Gallas Song Clichy

Walcott Gilberto Fabregas Hleb

Adebayor Van Persie

There’s a good chance Theo Walcott will get a start today, he has impressed going forward, and now that some of the pressure is lifted maybe Arsene will be thinking a bit more attack minded.

Song will probably start again, unless Wenger has a reshuffle and puts Toure at centre back and Eboue on the right. Senderos probably won’t be back. I think Le Boss wants Song to get some games under his belt to step up for next season. He performed well at the African Cup of Nations so it will be good to see how he does.

Of course Mad Jens is in there as well! Apart from that unchanged.

Coppell commented earlier in the week about changing the Reading line up after their defeat at Craven Cottage, which has been hyped up a lot. Reading have a poor away record, but in the Premiership everyone is good enough to beat anyone on their day, and Reading are scrapping at the bottom of the table. We still have to see this season out so a good performance and plenty of concentration will do fine for me!
We are still linked to loads of players, none of whom we will sign.

Also Wenger had this to say about Flamini’s contract situation:

“We are getting close to ‘yes’ or -no’”

He wants to stay and I believe him. But as long as he has not signed, he is free to sign where he wants. We have set ourselves a target at the end of April to finalise the situation, one way or the other.

“April is an absolute deadline because, afterwards, we have to make decisions in the transfer market. My first target is to keep the team together, but we want to continue to respect our wage structure. That is very important. Flamini has to fit in that.”

This is all good stuff, and I think there’s a good chance he might stay. I know thats what we need.

Here Wenger agress with my opinion that defensive errors have been our problem this season.

Arsene looks ahead to the Reading game:

“Now is a good opportunity for us to show mental strength and to finish as well as we can, as high as we can because second place is still possible.”

This is so true for us, we have to play for our pride and for second spot, if Avram and Chelski beat us to it I won’t be happy.

Anyway, I feel sick, so I’m off. Plus I have a game to get to!

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