Wenger wild about Walcott, confirms contract talks ongoing

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Arsene Wenger praised Theo Walcott’s performance against West Brom today but said that his goals in the 4-1 don’t make any difference to his already trenchant desire to keep the England international.

Walcott hit a first-half hat-trick to help the Gunners to victory with the Arsenal manager saying he’s now at a point where he be considered a serious option for a central striking position.

Asked about deploying him there, Wenger said, “He’s the right age. He’s 26 years old, it’s a good age for a footballer.

I wish that he stays free of injuries now. He had a few downs on the injury front and that’s never good. You have to be consistently present to express your full potential.

“He’s a good goalscorer but he has been out for a year. A year in football is a long, long time and it takes more time to come back to your best so that you are sharp and confident.

“He was already sharp when he came on in our midweek game against Sunderland. He was the one who created the chances and I always said that he could play through the middle because he has good movement, good finishing and he did that well today.”

The issue of his contract was raised too, but the Arsenal manager says it has made no difference to his intentions towards a player who will go into the final 12 months of his current deal at the end of June.

“Without his hat-trick or with his hat-trick, we want him to stay,” he said.

“We are in negotiations and we have started to speak with his agent. We did that before he scored his hat-trick.”

Wenger hasn’t been shy about making public how difficult negotiations with the Walcott camp/package are, so we won’t hold our breath just yet.

Certainly though, today’s performance was a reminder of what Walcott can do when he’s switched on.

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Gooner

Must be honest, last week I would have said “let’s sell him this summer and bring in someone better”, but now I’m really not sure…

CB

20 goal a year player, English, speedster, eye for goal, right age, best years coming up, automatisms in place, good guy.

Can’t think of reasons for him not to stay.

David C

automatisms!!! I would hope every Arsenal fan hopes players like Walcott and Wilshere stay. What is Wenger going to do in the FA Cup Final? How do you keep Ramsey, Wilshere, and Walcott happy? Good problems indeed.

Gunnanarama

Very true!

Policeman's Bangers 'N' Mash

Last day of season, inconsequential game, other team not going to be relegated, sometimes anonymous sometimes turns up, against a big team would he have even scored? We can get a ton of cash for him as he’s English, just turned 26, very experienced and just signed off on this Prem campaign with a ridiculous hattrick. I say sell him, and reinvest on another Sanchez type player but who can play striker. I dunno who that is but that’s Wenger’s job and you can’t tell me there aren’t any players out there who would do better than Giroud and Wellbeck… Read more »

GoonerInk

do you suggest we stick to 11 man squad next season too?
‘sell gibbs and the yourh left backs all we need is monreal’
‘cash in on bellerin now! and get jenks signed off somewhere all that £££££!!’

why do we need the extra cash btw?

Pure

Let’s not forget that Walcott always scores against Chelski sooo…

CB

5 league goals this season, more than Welbeck or Ozil. 2 starts. From 23 shots. 14 matches he appeared in.

Sterling got 7 in 31 matches.

peteyb

Would definitely be supportive of a contract package more heavily reliant on goal & assist related bonuses… and tracking back if that can easily be quantified & rewarded. Theo does seem to have a tendency to turn it on when it’s (seemingly) in his interest. Of course it could just be coincidence & perception tied to poorly times injuries… Anyways don’t let him rest on his laurels once contract is signed.

Dick Swiveller

And before today, he had fewer goals than both and much less participation in everything else. It’s not worth using stats when the sample sizes are so low, suffice it to say that he showed what he can do but it doesn’t make all the other issues disappear, consistency is what makes a player otherwise Michael Ricketts would be a world beater.

Third Plebeian

Walcott’s finishing, movement, and positioning were all superb today, but I feel we’re getting a little carried away here. WBA were complete garbage. They were well and truly in dead rubber mode. We, on the other hand, wanted to prove that we could finish a chance after being unable to score for three games. Remember also that the main complaint about Walcott when he returned from injury is that he often went completely missing in games, and didn’t do the closing down and tracking back that is now the focus and expectation of our forward line. Today’s game was all… Read more »

Perry S.

perfect analysis of the enigmatic Walcott. three goals against WBA doesn’t erase the fact that his form is very patchy. add to that, he’s not worth more than his current pay of 100K a week, so negotiations need to acknowledge this fact. if he’s ok with a similar contract then great, if not, loads of wingers AND strikers out there who would demand a similar pay rate and equivalent transfer fee to what Walcott could be sold for. I’d like to keep him, but not for a stupid salary.

Goooooner

First of all, you can only play the team in front of you and we did that today. Second, Theo gives us the option we need in some games which is Somebody more direct than Giroud. Even if he isn’t playing centre, we need him in the front 3.

Dick Swiveller

Quite, I don’t think we can clamour for a different, viable alternative to Giroud and then complain that he thrived in a game when Giroud possibly wouldn’t (I think Giroud struggle when it’s against teams that match his physicality, less scope to bully a pair of Pulis CBs).

bims lay

I agree fully………and third, imo, he is pl bred, tried and tested, compared to buying in another player to replace him, who most likely will be from a foreign league, and therefore comes with a 50% risk of not integrating well into the pl style of play, a la manU’s radamael falcao?

neutral

Third, you cannot say he is worth this or that, plenty of teams would pay his salary and if anything Wenger has failed to get the best out of him at times. At least Liverpool are off the table, who would go there now? To be honest I’ve always liked Theo but he looked lost in since coming back, the last two games he was a player transformed, taking on players around the box and doing quite well. As everyone knows, football is a confidence game and I hope Theo realizes his potential, if people are willing to give Wilshere,… Read more »

Mesut O'no

Aren’t all the players you just mentioned younger than Walcott?

Theo has been with Arsenal almost 10 years, he has had plenty of time to prove himself.

mas

And you could argue that before his injury he did. I think we need him. Gives us a different option to the other10 players in the team who want the ball to feet all the time. His pace and movement create space for others. It takes time to come back from serious injury. Look how many people wanted to write Ramsey off. Took him a good 6/7 months to hit form.

Clay

Funny that you discount his goals by saying “WBA were complete garbage”, 3 goals is 3 goals the opposition doesn’t matter.

CB

They got battered last week by Chelsea.

bims lay

Well!……’Boring Boring Chelsea!!’ got battered 3-0 last week by WBA, so WBA are are NOT so ‘garbage’?

Dan Man

He has done his defensive bit in every game thus far, even against United.

Confucius

Walcott starting up front was a massive gamble. The chances were slim, but we could’ve gone beneath united on goal diff had them hammered Hull. So it was a. a tactical gamble, as you wouldn’t expect wba to prepare for walcott up front and b. a way to please theo and his agent, remember last time around he was agitating about playing central. It worked, but is Theo the right man to for that position enough times in a season for him to be happy sharing the role with Giroud, Alexis and possibly someone else? Right now that’s both his… Read more »

UlsterGooner

United to win 8 nil against Hull? Where was the gamble? It was the perfect game to change tactics.

kos the boss

I think his movement is always superb. He and ramsey are perhaps the only two players who make great runs off the ball. People tend to read too much into the fact that he does not complete 205 touches like santi in a game. If there are different ways to play football, there are different ways to be a great player too. And unlike poldi, Walcott does create chances for other teammates. I can remember a lot of goals where it was Walcott’s run which took the markers away for Giroud or earlier RvP to score.

Bobbyp

Dear oh dear, this is exactly why fans get labeled fickle. Just because someone has a good game, people want them to stay/have a shit game “let’s sell ’em” It’s ridiculous. Personally I love Theo regardless of today. I think he brings a lot to the team and I really hope he stays.

Nasri's missing chinbone

Amen. A great number of people that contribute here are apparently as fickle as the wind. Personally found it quite repugnant how so many were prepared to lay into him after such a long lay off.

Sterling has played well recently hasn’t he.

Some of us need to cut out the knee jerk reactions to players having a few bad games. I doubt very much that all of us can say that we give our best performance every time we turn up for work!

Uzor

Which is a longer way of saying ‘Arsene knows’

Shere Willpower

Somehow he hits magical form when it time for a new contract.

Chair

It was interesting to see him in the striker role again. He was pretty good today, but still not sure whether he can do the job required of him on the wing.

Adam O'Leary

Don’t think he is irreplaceable but overall I hope he stays. Que sera sera

Adam O'Leary

We are certainly in a strong position to negotiate because he is replaceable

Jay Song

I always hoped he would stay.
I think ppl forgot how good he was before the injury.
This season was all about recovery!

Hope he stays and sign the thing!

DelGooner

I’m starting to get the feeling that Wenger is trying to move Walcott inside to make room for Sterling on the wing, rather than buy an older ST to pair with Giroud.

Miranda

I think that too. I think Wenger – though obviously he’d deny it in public so as not batter Giroud’s confidence still further – was stung by Thierry’s comment and privately agrees with him. Our midfield is wasted if we don’t have a striker with pace. Snag is, there aren’t many out there, not that we can attract or afford, so the answer might be to give Walcott the chance and buy another option for the wing. Interesting that so many people seem to have taken against Sterling. Seems unfair and short-sighted to me. You can’t expect a kid to… Read more »

Dick Swiveller

Yeah, Ronaldo was pretty awful to start with, wasn’t he? At least, I remember lots of fauning over him, whilst he tended to fall over a lot and not actually contribute much. I think people dislike Sterling because he comes off as such a twat, not the recent mudslinging from FSG, but on the pitch with the diving around and petulance; it’s hard to like someone like that when they’re not performing. I’d like him here, as long as we can cure his inner ear problems. Fwiw, I think Wenger still rates Giroud but knows that when there is such… Read more »

Miranda

I take the point about the diving but I’d put it down to his youth and distress. Remember him sobbing on Ospina’s chest when he’d missed a sitter? He’s a little kid carrying the entire weight of Brendan Rodger’s ineptitude on his shoulders, and I think it’s a good sign that he’s so upset by the decline in his form because it shows how badly he wants to do well. Probably with better support and the return of his form he’d relax and the diving would stop. Hope you’re right about Welbeck. He’s a very nice lad and it would… Read more »

Dick Swiveller

It seems to be more due to a sense of entltlement than insecurity at how bad Liverpool are, that seems more likely to me anyway. I agree that it comes down to his youth though, whichever reason it is, we could probably cut it down.

Ferngunner

Straight up knows where the goal is. Thats what we was lacking in the previous games.

alagbakore

Hope his package co-operates…

Darren

I hope he stays . And shows some loyalty to arsenal fc . After all we have seen him through some really tough times through injury. The lease he can do is show some commitment. Which I think he will . He’s a good professional

loose_cannon

Well we the fans need to show some loyalty too, instead of hawking him off to Liverpool and talking bout Sterling and Reus!!!

Dick Swiveller

I think it’s probably good to be a little cicumspect when it takes someone a long period of wrangling and a fair bit of money to show their loyalty.

Oor Wullie

I’d rather we kept him. If anyone listened to Tony Gayle’s drunk commentart via stream today you’ll have heard him mis-pronounce many names, call Ospina “the goalboy” and also say how Walcott has always stuggled in front of goal. Not true, the season before his injury he was top socorer from the left wing and although not doing much in some games was still scoring vital goals. Defo space in the team for him and Giroud isn’t getting any younger.

Welbeck's Hi-top fade

Walcott is only 2 years younger than Giroud (28).

Glory Hunter

Not true, Giroud turns 29 in September

CB

But Theo is so fast he’s catching up the sluggish HFB. They’ll be 30 on the same day.

peteyb

I’m afraid you’ve got yourself in a twist there – time travels slower when you move quickly… Have you not seen Interstellar?? c’mon get your physics right!! 😉
They were in fact born on the same day (hence the confusion above).

Oor Wullie

My point is that Giroud is getting older, unlike Walcott who’s getting younger.

Me So Hornsey

Maybe we should sign Benjamin Button and play him up top

Big Moe from Scarbro

My ass no hat trick. That will make a big difference. Walcott with the middle finger to the haters!

Gunner Phil

I agree with Delgooner’s comments, I believe Theo will flourish in a more central roll, and the added advantage of making some room out on the right,and if that means getting Stirling in then so be it 😀

MPLS

Theo’s been showing some serious improvement in close quarters control now that he’s back up to fitness.

I have consistently wanted him to stay – now I’m ever the more stoked to see what it will be like to have him back to form.

And that would be stoked in a very different way than a certain send off match today. Question is, how many send-offs will it be?! Ah, the memories.

hessojay

I love Walcott and I want him to stay…

The Angriest Man on Twitter

Looks like someone’s getting their Three-Oh Walcott Millions after all…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjplWm_Whs4

TeeCee

“what Walcott can do when he’s switched on.”

Well, if we could just find the switch and superglue it to the “on” position….

santori

If Walcott does sign and can continue to replicate the ability he has shown, we do not need another striker/offensive player this summer. On occassion, he can play a lone role up front (ala Owen) but he can also give us goals from out wide from RW. After all, with our system, it should not restrict him in movement as it has not Alexis. To me, Walcott is dragging out the process to see if offers come in for his services in the summer. I’d be surprise if he gets anything from overseas (albeit with the ‘success’ of Bale, you… Read more »