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Should the club cash in on Walcott?

By Melissa Hart

 

 

At 28, Theo Walcott should be coming into his prime, but like many players who made the step up to the first team at such an early age, he looks on the wane. Now, don’t mistake that for affirmation that we need to sell, but it’s the proverbial elephant in the room that needs to be addressed; should we cash in?

The thing about Walcott is that when he’s good, he’s very good. But due to inconsistency with his form — and, of course, injury setbacks — we don’t see that side of his play as much as we’d like. Much of our fan base had doubts when he signed from Southampton in his early years, but he didn’t take too long in proving his worth.

As a player with talent by the bucket-loads, we expected big things from our Theo. But no matter how much Arsene wrapped him in cotton wool, the weight of expectations — along with injuries and possibly a bit of burn-out — took its toll. We’ve never truly seen the very best of Walcott, as good seasons were invariably followed by injury-riddled ones.

However, his dedication to succeed, along with his loyalty to the club, have given him much more leeway with the fans. We’ll always see him as incredibly unfortunate rather than frustrating, but we shouldn’t let that reciprocal sense of loyalty cloud our judgement regarding his true value to the team.

Theo’s stats make for good reading. Although he has ‘only’ scored 105 goals (55 assists) in 379 matches, he has scored or been involved in a goal every second game, which isn’t too shabby for a winger. Yet, in comparison to another 28-year-old former Southampton player, Gareth Bale, Walcott falls short. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare him to Bale, who has the distinct advantage of playing on an incredibly creative Real Madrid side, but the stats don’t lie.

But perhaps the best barometers of Walcott’s true value are the teams that are reportedly interested in signing him. Everton, West Ham, Crystal Palace, and now his former club Southampton, are said to be the clubs vying for his signature should we decide to sell. Compare that with the ‘reported’ interest from Barcelona, Man Utd, and even Liverpool in years gone by, and you can see how much his value has dropped.

The fact that we would even consider selling our longest-serving player of the current squad is a little sad. But the truth is that unless he offers us more on the pitch, then it might be time to bag a decent transfer fee now rather than letting him leave for nothing in the twilight of his career.

BetStars have us at 11/2 as the favourites to win the Europa League this season, and — I’ll be honest — it would be a real shame if we sold him the same year we finally won a European trophy to go along with our Cup Winners Cup. Of course, the ideal scenario would be to see Theo have a stellar season and become the player we all know him to be, but we’ve been there before. The truth is that even if we win a couple of cups this season and our No. 14 bangs in the goals, he’ll more likely than not end up injured the following season.

Should we cash in on him in January? No, it really doesn’t make sense when we’re in with a shot in a European competition. But if we were to receive a good offer next summer, then it would be hard to say no. He’s a great player on his day and a loyal servant to the club, but sometimes you just have to let go.

29 comments to Should the club cash in on Walcott?

  • Flares

    You forgot the exclamation mark at the end of Liverpool! Melissa; it’s an important consideration when mentioning this ‘massive’ club.

    Good piece otherwise. I’ve been in favour of selling for a while. Get him off the wage bill.

  • atid

    Yes, sell him to a direct rival. Like Everton, Southampton or Burnley. That we might secure a top six finish.

  • Joe

    I agree with your conclusion, selling in January makes little sense. He can do a job in the Europa League and is not a terrible rotation player; as you said he can be very good in his day.

    But I have said for years tha without speed Walcot would not be a football player. He is not a natural player, he is a natural athlete/sprinter. But his speed is bothingbsircisl anymore, compared to others. At twenty eight it seems like he is still coming to terms with basics if the game, will be ever fully conprdnend offside?
    At another club he would def get more games and that’s the only way I can see his career getting back on track. Shows little ambition staying here and at twenty eight we might get a half decent transfer to go towards a replacement for Sanchez.

  • Gord

    On Arsenal.com, is news that Calum Chambers has signed a 2 year extension.

  • Nitram

    Theo has always divided people. Personally I have always been firmly in the ‘pro’ camp. There have over the years been a fair few Untold articles analysing him and his form, and by and large they have shown him to be a great asset, including this one written by Walter back in June 2015:

    http://untold-arsenal.com/archives/43892

    I know there are others that show his stats such as goals per game, assists per game, etc. and they stack up pretty well against his contemporaries.

    The problem with with Theo, as I see it, is confidence and consistency. He has fantastic periods and poor periods, but the thing is the poor periods often tie in with his injuries which seem to affect his confidence which in turn affect his form.

    Theo just gets going and bang, another injury. Following injury he does get his form back, but it takes time. He has to get his confidence back, first in his fitness, then his ability, and that takes time, but once he does, then his form returns.

    Given how many times Theo has had to go through this cycle of:

    Great form – injury – return from injury – return of confidence – return of form

    His stats are pretty damn good.

    Now as much as I love Theo I concede last season, or at least the second half of it, was very disappointing, but again, it was on the back of an injury. Unfortunately though this time it was an injury he never regained his form from.

    Lets have a look at last season, which was divided in to 2 distinct halves.

    His season started great scoring 8 goals from 11 appearances in PL and CL. He then had a small Hamstring Strain, but was soon back, scoring 3 in 7. So a total of 11 goals from 18 appearances all on the Right wing.

    Those are pretty impressive numbers. In fact some of the best he has ever returned.

    Then, right at the end of the year he picked up a calf strain that kept him out for 2 Months. Alas, for whatever reason, once he returned he never regained his form again, scoring just 3 goals in 20(3) matches.

    Sadly it’s the 2nd half of the season that everyone seems to want to remember, not only to define last season, but as some kind of barometer for his entire career, which is grossly unfair.

    Me personally I prefer not judge him on his poor 2nd half of last season, but rather on the first, which was exceptional, and a much truer representation of his career.

    I really hope we keep him.

  • Cheadle

    When you examine the facts (by googling around) there really is no hiding place.

    For someone who gets the stick so often, Theo occupies the same orbit as some of football’s legendary goal scorers and he is on-par with many of today’s forwards.

    We shall em… em…. em… exclude Messi, Ronaldo and anyone else known to boast a much higher than normal strike volume per season.

    Many legends and current star strikers were/are mainly “normal strikers” eg. Bergkamp, Del Piero, Totti, Drogba and Sanchez and Bale. A close examination of their careers (by googling around) will show that most of them needed well over 300 games and some as many as nine to ten years to score 100 goals and Bale has only 18 more career goals than Walcott.

    So what separates a normal striker from other strikers?

    1- Goal Scoring Weapons and Technique ie both feet, head & improvised goals (scorpion, volleys, overheads, back-heel etc.)
    2- Work rate and sheer strength/power
    3- Strike rate vs miss rate
    4- Number of assists
    5- Ability to score important goals i.e chipping in the 6th goal in a 6-1 rout vs. scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 or 2-1 hard fought victory
    5- Creating & scoring your own goals
    6- How the striker uses his body type
    7- Fitness

    Take your combination

    The fact is that Theo will continue to divide opinions just like Ozil despite his importance to the team.

    Verdict: Keep him!

  • Cheadle

    No way to edit.. I meant to say (what separates a normal striker from other normal strikers)

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Cash in on Walcott during the next January window or when? And cash on on whom by then to replace him in the squad? Allow one of the promising looking Arsenal starlets to takeover from him when he’s cashed in on? Interesting!

    I am sure Le Prof is not contemplating cashing in on his 17 goals scorer Walcott in all competitions last season in the coming January window but keep him as the competition to compete in are three in numbers for Arsenal to play needing rotation of quality players to cope well with the games to edge out the opposition teams.

    I am happy for Calum Chambers extending his contract at Arsenal according to report on this site. I’ve not been to Arsenal.com to verify the claim. But I believe this site for any Arsenal news I read on it. So, there won’t be any need for me to visit Arsenal.com to verify Gord’s claim. For, he’s a trusted informant. Chambers refusal not to join Crystal Palace last summer window for a permanent deal has paid him a good dividend after all. All things being equal, I believe Jack Wilshere among others will soon join him to get extention to his contact too at Arsenal.

    Am I sad to see Alexis Sanchez’s Chile got knocked out from the Russia 2018 World Cup? My answer to the question is No! For his been an Arsenal star player and loved by me for his goals scoring exploits for Arsenal, I would have loved it to see Sanchez play at the 2018 World Cup finals. But alas, it is not to be for him as Brazil comprehensively beat Sanchez’s Chile led team 3-0 in Sao Paulo last night which left him in sadness, despair and frustrated.

    Let Sanchez turns his frustration for Chile to triumph for Arsenal as he returns to the club from Chile to resume his primary job and rediscovered his game at the top level of it by starting to score many goals for Arsenal in the PL and provides many assists in it in particular and in all competitions for Arsenal too as he did last season.

  • nicky

    @Nitram,
    Agree with you entirely. Walcott has proved time after time that he can produce performance when needed.
    I accept that he isn’t consistent but he is still too valuable a player to lose. 😉

  • Vanya Dickens

    No.Theo should remain.

  • Cheadle

    I think it is Divine intervention for Sanchez to finally get a whole off season…off!!

    If Chile qualified for the WC this would have been his fifth straight summer tournament.

    Sanchez’s last four Summers

    Summer 2014 World Cup
    Summer 2015 Copa America
    Summer 2016 Copa America again!?
    Summer 2017 Intercontinental (Punishment for wining the copa
    Summer 2018….. Finally some well deserved rest.

    Brazil had already qualified and did not need to beat Chile but they turned the screws anyway… Could they have been thinking ahead and took the opportunity to eliminate Chile, that way they don’t risk facing them at the World Cup knockout stages. Recent history has Chile in 3 finals in their last three tournaments. Clearly tournament hardened!

    Just a guess!!

  • Chris

    Sell him and then, whom do we replace him with ?
    Say what you want, he’s produced, he isa pro, he’s now got a bucketload or should I say a decade and more of experience
    He is no diva anymore, and slots in right away whatever the situation

    And how much can AFC get for him anyway ?

    I hope he stays a few more years.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    He has been loyal , and has performed reasonably well in stretches when called upon , unless injuries and poor form/loss of confidence has intervened .
    Keep him !

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree, we shouldn’t sell him, but I worry a not, it seems the club are in the mood to let many go, read somewhere it was 24 out 2 in this summer?,ok a lot of squad players, but still, we are fighting on several fronts and leaving ourselves will not be great, and we have already lost Ox without replacing him. Ok,,there are young prospects hovering, but for now, they are, just that.
    I would regard selling any of our decent players in Jan, especially without replacing them, as wreck less, and frankly, a bit worrying, and strange.

  • Nitram

    Chris

    “Sell him and then, whom do we replace him with?………..And how much can AFC get for him anyway ?”

    Exactly

    The problem we have, as per usual, is the medias depiction of Walcott as a ‘failure’, and there constant criticism of him, which actually completely undermines how good he really is, and in the wake of that, how much he is perceived to be worth, so even if we were to ‘cash in’ we wouldn’t actually get anything like what his true value should be.

    Only last week the odious Arsenal hating hack Dave Kid in the Sun was having yet another pop at Theo.

    So lets see what affect this constant criticism can have on how much Theo is worth, and make a comparison with a player that most would class as a ‘similar’ type player, and see how they are perceived and valued in comparison to each other.

    The player I have in mind is Raheem Sterling.

    There is a comment in the Walter article I referred to above referencing an article in The Sun that at the time (June 2015) valued Sterling at £60 Million (He actually went to City for £44 Million), whilst in another article on the same day they valued Theo at just £20 Million.

    At the time Theo was 26 years of age and Sterling 22. At the time Theos stats were better than Sterling’s, as they were last season, as they have been throughout there careers.

    The following are last season PL/CL stats with there career averages at the bottom:

    WALCOTT

    Played 38

    Scored 14

    Goal scored every 2.7 games

    Career average every 4 games (all tournaments)

    NB: So despite the poor end to the season Theo still had a relatively good season, but it is generally portrayed in the media, not just as a bad season, but as a disastrous one.

    STERLING

    Played 40

    Scored 15

    Goal scored every 2.6 games

    Career average every 4.5 games (all tournaments)

    As I said, Theos stats back in 2015 were at least the equal of Sterling’s, and his career stats are better than his, and even last seasons ‘disastrous’ season was equal to Sterling’s.

    So one could quite understandably ask, why has Sterling’s value been consistently double that of Walcott’s throughout there careers ?

    Nothing to do with the fact Theo plays for Arsenal and is therefore subject to constant derision from the media of course ?

    The bottom line is, despite the constant derision Theo receives from the media, and sadly a lot of our own supporters, he is a top draw player, and it would be, in my humble opinion, a terrible decision to sell him.

  • Nitram

    Sorry a point I forgot to make about Theos disastrous last season.

    If you take in to account the FA CUP his stats for last season, playing from the Right wing are as follows:

    PREMIER LEAGUE

    played: 28
    Scored: 10

    CHAMPIONSLEAGUE

    Played: 6
    Scored: 4

    FA CUP

    Played 3
    Scored 5

    TOTALS

    Played: 37
    Scored: 19

    So despite his injuries and that poor 2nd half to the season that’s a tad more than a goal every 2 games from the wing.

    And he had a season so bad it calls for p**cks like Kidd in the Scum to take the piss out of him.

    I’m not saying Theo is by any means perfect, or am I saying he’s a Messi or Bale, but honestly the stick the lad gets is way way out of proportion to how good he really is.

  • Josif

    PRO:

    -he is a HG-player,
    -he has been at Arsenal for over a decade,
    -he has final product,
    -he is still quick,
    -he can be used as No. 9 and as a RW,
    -he has been rather loyal to Arsenal,
    -he scores in big games (last season: Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City x2, Bayern),
    -everyone wrote him off after a season in which he scored 19 goals from the wing despite spending last ten games on the bench,
    -he was our top scorer in our successful FA Cup campaign last season despite spending two Wembley games on the margins.

    CONTRA:
    -he has never learned certain technical aspects of football (striking the ball with his weaker foot, wrapping the foot around the ball),
    -he doesn’t seem to fit in the new formation due to poor skill set,
    -his quickness won’t serve him for too long, especially given he is injury prone.

    I think Arsenal should keep him until summer. We have a big, tight-scheduled season with 14 league matches, four European matches and at least one more cup match ahead of us until 1st January.

    We will know what will happen with Alexis before June. If we lose Alexis, the manager will have to assess whether he can afford to sell Theo to fund a strong attacking purchase (say, Griezmann or Draxler) to fill the void that Alexis’ likely departure will leave.

  • Nitram

    Josif

    Interesting analysis.

    A couple of points though.

    Even though you only have 3 ‘CONS’ surely 1 and 2 are in fact the same thing? One says ‘never learned technical aspects of football’ and the other ‘due to poor skill set’, surely both the same CON ?

    Even your third CON is a guess. He may, he may not loose his pace. Henry, another player that relied heavily on his pace was still performing at the top level in to his 30’s. Theo looks after himself. Has low millage due to those injuries, so assuming he can stay at least relatively injury free I see no reason to doubt he will maintain his pace for a few seasons yet.

    Conversely though I would add 2 CONS.

    I don’t think he provides enough assists.

    And possibly he could be a little better at avoiding getting caught offside.

    But overall I think we can agree there are more PROS than CONS.

    Personally I think, all things considered, he still has enough to give to offer him an improved contract, perhaps for 2 additional years, taking him to 31, or even 3.

    Selling him would not get us much money anyway, for reasons I mentioned above, certainly not enough to get us a like for like replacement anyway.

    To me, keeping him is easily the best option.

  • Gord

    Nitram

    Fast oldsters do exist. In another life when I played “master’s football”. there was a guy playing (who had originated in England) that was mid 50’s (54? or so). He would still outsprint just about every U18 player he came up against. He was slightly smaller than average height and thin.

    I was somewhere in the late 30’s to early 40’s, and I too had occasion to play against teams that were largely U18 or early 20’s. And I could outsprint them as well. While I was a little taller than the first man mentioned, I was about 220-240 pounds at the time. Among other things, I would do hundreds in the weight room (sets of 100 reps at whatever weight I could handle on the leg press). I think I was doing about 400 pounds, close to twice body weight.

    Theo can probably keep his speed for a while.

  • Gord

    OT: Merson and Cognac

    There was a blurb in the news, that Merson is going to start playing for a fourth tier south Wales team on midweek games.

    As they say in Hollywood and Broadway, break a leg.

    CNN Money had an article about a former EPL player (Olivier Tebily) who is now making cognac in France.

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/11/smallbusiness/olivier-tebily-cognac-football/index.html

    The 22 hectares that Tebily now owns yield roughly 11,000 bottles of Cognac a year. He sells part of the haul to a larger producer, while the rest is sold under his own label, Cognac OT.

    The above paragraph works out to 375 litres of cognac per hectare.

    According to Wikipedia, the average wine yield in France in 2007 was about 50 hectolitre per hectare. Tebily is producing 3.75 hectolitre per hectare of cognac. I would expect cognac to not produce the volume that wine does, so maybe the numbers are good? Looking for cognac yield news, it seems that something a little over 100 hectolitre per hectare is produced by the industry (on average). So it would seem he is a little on the low side, yield wise.

    But congratulations to him. I wonder if any football academies are teaching winemaking?

  • Nitram

    Gord

    I agree.

    I think the loss of pace notion is a throwback to the ‘old days’, for want of a better term.

    Players look after themselves much better these days which I believe extends there natural assets, be it stamina, power, or pace, much later into there careers.

    Of course there is a possibility he will lose it, but it has to be considered a very small one I think.

    In which case, if anyone has an argument that he should be sold it cannot be on that basis, or indeed on his stats, or indeed on the money we will recoup, it has be for some other reason or reasons.

    It will be interesting to hear what they are from who ever thinks he should be sold.

  • Nitram

    Maybe it could be on the basis of what they’ve read in the Sun, or listened to on Talksport, in which case they would of had him put down years ago.

  • Gord

    OT: Corruption News

    Jerome Valcke has been in the news lately. First up, was that he was appealing his 10 year band from football at CAS.

    Well, this morning it turns out that Swiss Police have opened criminal proceedings against him.

    http://www.marca.com/en/football/international-football/2017/10/12/59df6976e2704e127a8b45fe.html

    I suppose this will do even more damage to his “reputation”.

    Oh, Qatar’s beIN Media Chief Executive Nasser Al-Khelaifi is also part of this story.

  • Jammy

    “However, his dedication to succeed, along with his loyalty to the club, have given him much more leeway with the fans.” That really isn’t correct. The WOB couldn’t care less if a player has been at the club for over a decade. Along with Xhaka, I see Walcott constantly being ripped apart and criticised. Our own “fans” keep insisting that he is nothing but a runner, with no footballing brain and the term “dead-wood” is often thrown at him.

  • Nitram

    Jammy

    The point is, is there anyone at Arsenal, from the board, to the Manager, to the players, that these WOB people don’t slag off ?

  • Gord

    OT: Corruption News

    I seen a note, that from now to the end of the season, the Chinese League is going to be bringing in foreign referees and using video assistants to try and improve the standard of officiating.

    There isn’t even a hint of bringing in any of 😈 Mike Riley’s crew!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Gord -12/10/2017 at 2:03 pm -Nice link. Glad to see an ex-player go on to follow his passion and be a success in a another and totally unrelated field , very much like our own Flamini .
    And unlike morons like Merson, who nick a living , by espousing and expounding their stupidity at regular intervals on the idiot box . Oh !
    I suppose his attempts to play again is not a sniffing matter , and if he shuts his mouth , he may be able to finish the game. But most likely ,it’ll probably end up as another smack on his face .
    Then again , he does have the tendency to regularly cracks us all up !

  • Gord

    Oh, I believe Wenger mentioned another player who has completely changed professions. Former Gunner George Weah is now a president, I believe.

    Okay, I see news reports now, saying that at the moment, the election results are not completely known. Weah was at one point leading.

    The country is Liberia. Hopefully he makes a better president, than the one who rhymes with chump.

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