Walcott contract talks still unresolved

Theo Walcott - Singapore

Theo Walcott has yet to put pen to paper on a new contract at the Emirates, but still has two years left on his current deal after he signed on for three and a half years, eighteen months ago, a saga that was also overly drawn out.

However the 26-year-old is hopeful of staying at a ‘special’ club and is looking forward to what could prove to be a big year for the team, he believes.

“My agent has talked to the club.

“I enjoy playing for this club, so I am just letting them crack on with things and I’ll continue playing football.

“We’ll just play the waiting game and see what happens but I’m sure it won’t be long. This squad, for me, is one of the best I’ve been involved in. I want to be part of that.”

Asked whether he would be happy if the talks carried on past the start of the upcoming campaign, he added: “Definitely. It’s not in my thought process at all.

“You don’t want to dwell on it, you want to play well and, if it happens, it happens.

“I won’t let that delay the way I’m going to be playing this season. I can’t let that affect me, I want to do well for this club.

“It’s my first pre-season for two years now, so I want to work hard and get fit.

“It’s a really exciting year for myself personally and I think this team can go very far.”

Adding: “I’m always going to be judged on goals. I’ve been very happy with my goal record when given the opportunity, that is all I can do.”

Arsenal are reported to be in the market for a striker, despite a strong end to the season from Theo who continued his goalscoring form at the weekend, scoring the opener in a 3-1 win over Everton to win the Barclays Asia Trophy.

The strikers names most recently being mentioned are those of Karim Benzema and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, having already missed out on some targets there is not a wealth of proven talent left to select from.

So is it vital that Arsenal sign a striker in order to compete for the major trophies?

Wenger believes Walcott is ready for central role

Theo Walcott put in an outstanding performance against West Brom, scoring a hat-trick in a resounding 4-1 win which saw the Gunners go 4-0 up at half-time.

Walcott got off to a ferocious start with a thunder strike within the first 5 minutes, giving him the much needed confidence to go on and take the following opportunities that came his way, leaving the manager with a selection headache for the Cup Final.

Arsene Wenger believes Walcott is now ready to play through the middle as the central striker he has always strived to be, and hopes that he will stay at Arsenal for a long time to come.

“I always said that he could play through the middle, because he has good movement, good finishing, and he did that well today.

“He is a good goal scorer, but he has been out for a year. A year in football is a long, long time, and it takes time to come back to your best, your sharpness, your confidence.

“He’s the right age. 26 years old is a good age for a football player. I wish that he stays free of injuries now. He has had a few downs on the injury front and you have to be consistently present to express your full potential. “

Having shown what he is capable of today, it now remains for Theo to prove himself on a consistent basis. Perhaps he will still be able to stake a strong claim for that much needed, world-class, clinical striker we have been searching for.

However, Wenger is yet to rule out signings in any positions this transfer window, and I’m sure no Arsenal fan would turn down the opportunity to bring in more talent of Sanchez and Ozil’s ilk this summer.

Wenger on Walcott’s “Special Destiny”

As we all know, Theo Walcott has been at Arsenal since the tender age of 16, but 10 years down the line at a prime age of 26, we have not seen him reach his full potential as we had once hoped. 

Arsene Wenger is determined to keep the Englishman on his books for the foreseeable future though, despite speculation over his future with halting contract negotiations and only a year to left to run on his current deal.

Having just made his 300th appearance for the club, Wenger commented on Walcott’s “special destiny” in his programme notes, and reiterated his point in his press conference today.

“Special destiny because it’s unusual that a boy at 17 years old goes to the World Cup.

“After, he had the problem when England went to Brazil he was not selected by Capello… In 2014 he was injured.

“It’s special when a boy goes at 17 to the World Cup, you think he will make four or five appearances [at World Cups].

“He’s a special player with as well special tests on the mental front, and he overcame them all.

“He will have a special destiny as a player because nothing happens like planned with him, but he always responds in a very strong way.”

Walcott has spent much of this season out after being hampered by an injury he picked up in last years FA Cup Third Round win over Tottenham. Despite coming back into the fold during the latter stages of this season, he has be unable to break back into the starting eleven following a great run of form by the team.

However, Arsene Wenger claimed his desire to keep Walcott at the start of May: “Being 26 to 32 is the best age as a striker and I wouldn’t like to miss that golden age.”

The manager thinks there’s a lot more to come from Theo, and hopefully he’s right.

Theo Walcott – “We Can Beat Absolutely Anyone”

Walcott wants to repay Wenger for the faith he’s show in him, and insists Arsenal are heading along the right track to return to their successful ways.

“The boss has always had so much belief in me from a young age, but we haven’t won anything for a long time now, so we want to pay him back by winning something.

“If we don’t perform he always takes it back on himself, but at times it is not fair because we are the players that go out there and do it.

“He definitely lets us know when we are not performing, though, which is the right way to do it.

“Once the team wins the first trophy, you will start to see us coming back to where we should be.

“When your team is playing well it makes your job easier and when you are winning games it is fantastic to be a part of it. However, it is when things aren’t going too well that you need to stand out and get your team back involved.

“We have got players in the dressing room who can create something out of nothing, and I want to be part of that backbone.

“You see it when we go a goal down, everyone thinks, ‘right, we need to step up here because it is not good enough’, but if we do that from the start we can beat absolutely anyone.

“I think we will get to a stage when we win games even when we haven’t dominated.

“We are starting to get there and as soon as we hit that target, I am sure we are going to be flying.

Walcott Confident of Top-Four Finish

Theo Walcott is Arsenal’s top-scorer this season, and hopes to continue that form for the remainder, but insists he is more happy with the teams performances as a whole of late, telling http://www.arsenal.com that Arsenal are “on a high”.

“It was an important win, the three points have us on a high and we’ve got a nice week now without any midweek game.

“A lot of players are back from international duty and need a bit of a break. Some may be rested for the FA Cup game, but that’s just as important as we want to go far in that competition. If we lost [at Sunderland], we would have been dwelling on it for so long, so I’m glad we didn’t.

“We’re very confident [we will finish in the top four]. We can battle through any sort of situation. The teams around us are winning as well, but we’ve just got to make sure we look after ourselves and try to win as often as we can.

“We’ll see where we are at the end of the season but we’ve got to show the belief we did at Sunderland. I felt there were a lot of winners in that dressing room and the boys were fantastic.”

There’s no doubt Arsenal need to go ‘far’ in the FA Cup, but as Theo says, we will need to rest players for the Bayern Munich as much as we can afford to. Although we are underdogs in the Champions League clash, if all those ‘winners in that dressing room’ turn-up, fresh and ready to go, then I don’t see why we can’t get some kind of result and keep ourselves in contention before we travel to Munich at least.