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Why Can’t Arsenal’s Walcott Be A Forward?

Just before the summer transfer window closed a story began to emerge from the ranks of the press that Theo Walcott may be on his way out of Arsenal. Walcott’s contract runs out a the end of this season. As it turns out he had in fact not agreed a new contract with Arsenal and rumours started to spread, as it would, that he could be on his way out. However Arsenal did a agree a temporary solution so that Walcott would stay at the club.

This week Theo Walcott was interviewed by the BBC in relation to John Terry retiring from international duty as his position was ‘Untennable’ as a result of an FA enquiry into alleged racist abuse he he had thrown towards Anton Ferdinand. In his interview he was asked about the contract negotiations which are on going with the club. In his answer he said it would ‘take time’ and was something that couldn’t be rushed. He also expressed his desire, as he has done in the past, to play a more forward role in the club.

Theo Walcott was signed from Southampton in in January 2006 for an initial fee of £5m(which rose up to £12m) at just 16 years of age. Arsene Wenger clearly saw something special in this little kid which he believed could be a future talent. Many believed he would be a replacement for Thierry Henry after his departure in 2007 as he had many similar attributes such as his lightening pace and his ability to fly down the wings as Henry did for many years at the club.

“I’ve been judged, with people saying it’s all about money. It’s never been  that with me,” Walcott told BBC Sport. “Playing up front is important. It’s one of the main factors for me.”

But the point he really wanted to make was the fact he was signed as a striker. “I signed as a striker. I’ve learnt my trade out on the wing. Hopefully, I’ll get to play up front in the next few games. It’s frustrating  being on the bench, but it’s one of those things I have to deal with.” You do get the sense from the interview that he is holding out from signing a new contract so as to get into the position he was signed for and also wants to play in.

Arsene Wenger has since came out and said that it may be difficult to move Walcott forward as competition for places there was fierce since the arrival of Giroud form Montpellier and Podolski from FC Koln.”His time will come for that and at the moment we have to be a bit patient,”  said Wenger. Understandably Arsene doesn’t want to be held hostage by one player using contract negotiations over where he feels he should play but in my opinion i don’t see why he shouldn’t be given a chance.

On Wednesday night Walcott scored two goals from runs from deep in midfield through the centre and finished both goals with ease. When he scored, he reminded me a little of when Henry would do the same time and time again. Now i don’t believe Walcott has the same ability as Henry did but looking at the Arsenal team, they are blessed this season with midfielders. New signing Santi Carzola has hit the ground running at the club and has become and instant success. beside him is Diaby and Arteta, who has found a new role of sitting in front of defenders protecting the back four. Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also find themselves in front of Walcott in the pecking order and not forgetting Jack Wilshire’s return to training this week after more than a year out with injury.

One thing is for sure, Arsenal aren’t blessed with an abundance of forwards that can replace Robin Van Persie’s 30 goal return from last season. I’m not saying Walcott is a 30 goal man but with Gervinho, having moved forward, is a bit hit and miss as we have seen with his awful performance against Man City on Sunday and Giroud only hitting the mark for the first time on Wednesday night, it cant do Arsenal any harm to give him the chance he craves to prove himself a real replacement for Henry and Van Persie.

 

I have to say i am a little with Walcott holding out on his contract in order to play in the position he wants and feels he is good at. All too much we hear of players holding out for more and more money and too few holding out for actual football reasons and its refreshing to see a player of his ability concentrating on his football. This is surely a problem Wenger would rather have.

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