Hereâ€™s my belated tupporth on Theo, penned long after the issueâ€™s been battered around the interwebs and beaten into digital submission.
Somethingâ€™s likely to give this summer, one way or the other, because the run-the-contract-down option is unlikely to come to pass. Hence the stories that we are now seeing â€“ whatever the truth in them.
Dipping my toes into Twitter today, it strikes me â€“ reminds me is perhaps more accurate – how much Theo Walcott polarises people.
Thereâ€™s lively debate on how far Arsenal should stick their necks out to keep him. We donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going on behind the scenes but Iâ€™d guess that itâ€™s safe to say that Arsenal would rather he had dotted and crossed a new deal already â€“ although the crossing might have gone off the page – not because he has blossomed into the worldâ€™s deadliest winger, but because the club has long had a policy of securing young players on long contracts to protect its investment. (This same policy has, of course, backfired in some respects, as Arsenal find themselves unable to offload certain other players, but letâ€™s gloss over that one for a moment. As you were. Carry on).
For the sake of argument, letâ€™s say heâ€™d stay if given Â£100k a week. No footballer is of course worth this kind of money, not in real life, but football as we known is far removed from reality. I suspect that kind of wage is pretty attainable for a 23-year-old English player, a regular international, with improving stats and zero personal baggage.
So thatâ€™s what he could probably get – potentially more depending whoâ€™s interested. Thatâ€™s the market.
Iâ€™ve gnawed my fists more times than I can remember at his inconsistency â€“Â 7amkickoffâ€™sÂ got some good numbers to chew on â€“ but my own view is that Walcottâ€™s worth persevering with. There arenâ€™t many players who are the finished article at 23. Theo has been catapulted into the limelight from the age of 15, but in the end heâ€™s been something of a slow starter. He has however just had his most profitable season â€“ and if you think what he was like at 20, compare that to now, and add three years of improvement, thereâ€™s no reason to think he wonâ€™t be better yet at 26.
But itâ€™s complicated. AsÂ ArseblogÂ says, if Arsenal want keep him, and heâ€™s prepared to stay, then theyâ€™re going to have to swallow the cost – within reason – whether they think it represents good value for money or not.
If itâ€™s all about the money, then he can probably hold the club to ransom and force its hand. If he wanted Â£150k a week, for example, well then heâ€™d quite frankly be off his rocker â€“ and Arsenal would be right to refuse.
Financial reasons for leaving â€“ those I have grown to understand (reluctantly and bitterly) within the context of the last decade of petro-money. But if he doesnâ€™t want to stay for other reasons and nothing would induce him to do so, then those reasons Iâ€™d find more troubling.
Should this be the case, or even a part of it, then the club would do well to ask â€˜why doesn’t he want to stayâ€™?
Some of the answer might not be very palatable, but if he does end up going â€“ and van Persie goes too â€“ then the very least they should do behind the scenes is to address some of the reasons why, to stop it from happening again, like a broken record, year after year.
Of course, I might have emptied a half-full glass when thereâ€™s no need to, and gone too far down the doom route. I guess weâ€™ll find out soon enough.