I am very grateful that when I was growing up, all I had to keep an eye on Arsenal’s transfer activity was the teletext service. I’m Irish and it was page 220 on Aertel (our equivalent of ceefax). I think if I had twitter I would have gone insane. The older you get the more you realise that 90% of what appears on twitter, or the tabloids, is absolute rubbish. I sincerely hope that the story which appeared in The Sun over the weekend, that Arsenal would be willing to swap Theo Walcott and £8m for Raheem Sterling, is just idle transfer gossip.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Walcott. I know he is a good player, a very good player in fact. I won’t (can’t) argue with the stats, this season in particular. He is important to our team, he gives us something we don’t otherwise possess, and I really hope the club sorts out his contract situation before it turns into another saga. The reason he frustrates me – and I know this is unfair on the player, is that I see him as emblematic of everything that is good and bad about Arsenal. The two words which come to mind with Walcott also come to mind with Arsenal – if only. He seems so close to being a seriously good, dangerous player – if only he improved his first touch, decision making, and his play when he has his back to goal. He is a player who, like the team, can alternately look devastatingly effective, or incomprehensibly inept.
I don’t want to be too harsh on Walcott – I often think that he suffers from just having been around too long. He’s only 23 years old, and he is getting better every season. I don’t believe the Sterling story, and if it was true, I think it would be utter madness. Francis Jeffers gave a recent interview where he talked about his career and he should be a reminder to everyone that just because a young player has a good season or two doesn’t mean they will be good enough in the long term.
I don’t know the ins and outs of the situation regarding Walcott’s contract negotiations. I do know that he doesn’t seem to be playing, or talking, like a player who wants to leave. I also know that I don’t want to look back in a few seasons and think ‘if only’ we had paid him what he wants.
By Mary O Connell