Theo Walcott says his current contract wrangle has nothing to do with money and that he wants to stay at the club to become ‘a legend’ like Thierry Henry.
Discussions with the England international have been going on for the best part of a year now, with Arsenal unwilling to match his wage demands and offering a new deal at £75,000 per week which has been rejected.
“I’ve played on the right wing and had the opportunity to play up front a bit more so I think it’s about time.
“Playing up front is important. It’s one of the main factors for me. 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 bench, but it’s one of those things I have to deal with.”
Quite how Arsene Wenger will react to being told by one of his players where he ought to be playing remains to be seen but the manager shows no signs of making it happen. In fact, he appears to have quite publicly given Walcott an answer by choosing the erratic Gervinho to play as a centre-forward and selecting Aaron Ramsey, a central midfielder, to play on the right hand side even when he is fit and available.
Will that change on the back of this declaration? It’s hard to imagine a manager as intransigent as Arsene Wenger will be swayed by a footballing issue being played out in public like this, while Walcott admits there’s nothing imminent in terms of an agreement and says his wages are not a factor.
“It’s not going to happen any time soon. That speculation on the money side of it has never been me. That’s not me. I’m not the sort of person who’s influenced by money.
“I always make my decisions based on football and only football. Hopefully something can be sorted out. I’ll just wait for the club to get back to us now and go from there.
“It’s one of those things that happens in the game. If it comes to it, if the club had to sell me, I’d be disappointed but, like I said, hopefully something can be sorted.”
I don’t think of any of us are so naive to think money isn’t the major issue and while he obviously does have a desire to play as a striker it’s a convenient problem to raise.
It seems it would take a large increase on Arsenal’s current offer, as well as footballing assurances from the manager he appears unwilling to give, to sort this one out and it doesn’t look as if that’s going to happen in the short term.
Stalemate. We use a player for a season, as and when we choose (and we might well need him at times) and then that is most likely that.