Arsenal seem to be making a habit of having an annual transfer saga, something that both Arsene Wenger and the club’s fans are keen to be rid of, but this theme looks set to continue this year with arguably their star performer this season, Theo Walcott.
Arsenal have lost Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie in recent years due to expiring contracts, and it would appear that Walcott is set to join that list of illustrious names , according to the Daily Mail.
There have reportedly been no talks since discussions on the 28th of August, when Walcott turned down a five-year £75,000-per-week deal. With the speedster’s contract set to expire in the summer and no more contract talks currently planned, despite his scintillating form this season, Walcott looks set to enter January in the last six months of his contract.
Unless he performs a Wayne Rooney style contract U-turn, whether it is in January or the summer, Walcott looks set to depart the Emirates, with the best that the Arsenal faithful can hope for in return being a severely depleted transfer fee, as with the cases of van Persie and Nasri. His reason for departure would be the same as Nasri’s – he can get twice the £75,000 per week he was offered by moving elsewhere.
Whilst Walcott is by no means a complete player, he offers immense pace and impressive finishing, and is certainly good enough to perform regularly for Arsenal at the very highest level. However, it isn’t the actual loss of the player that will hurt Arsenal fans the most – it is what the loss would represent.
If Walcott leaves, it would mean that for several successive seasons, Arsenal will have lost a key player because they are simply unable to hold onto top talent. This isn’t because of poor results or poor management in a football sense, but an unwillingness to spend.
Arsenal’s financial model is an admirable one, with the club racking up sizable profit margins, but sometimes, money does need to be spent to succeed at the top of what is increasingly a finance based sport. Arsenal need to swallow their pride, make exceptions and at least try to compete in terms of wages with the super rich of English football – or their current mid table mediocrity will become not an abnormality but a regular occurrence.
Arsenal are an excellent football club, but sadly, they can’t expect to lure or hold on to the best players in the world if they can’t compete financially. It isn’t that they can’t afford astronomic wages, it’s that they don’t want to pay them, and whilst this is in some ways admirable, it isn’t conducive to footballing success. Something, however small, has to change in the spending plans of the club.