Today’s Arsenal transfer rumor mill is all about Theo Walcott. As most fans would already know, Walcott is in the last year of his contract and can leave on a free transfer next summer. Although negotiations for the new contract have been progressing, apparently it hit a roadblock with regards to the player’s wages. Not sure how much of this is true but reports from today’s media say that the player is demanding at least £100,000 per week while the club is willing to pay only about £70,000.
The situation is pretty similar to that of Robin Van Persie but the difference here lies in the fact that the player does actually want to stay at the Emirates. Walcott has not really endeared himself to the Arsenal fans with some pretty poor performances intersperse with a few brilliant ones. I doubt that the fans will miss him at all given that we already have a ready-made replacement in Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. As I have said in this blog earlier, we should sell Walcott if the right offer comes along. All the dailies are reporting that the England winger is available for about £12 to £15 million. Personally, I would be reluctant to offload the player at this price seeing that he is young, British and with his best playing years ahead of him. He should be sold for anything less than £20 million. After all, we did get £24 million for RVP in a similar contract situation without the added premium of being British and young.
The second reason why I don’t think Walcott should be sold off cheaply is because of what has already happened at the Emirates in the summer. The departures of RVP and Song have already put a lot of pressure of the manager and the new players to deliver immediately. I cannot imagine what it would be if another so called superstar from the team is sold. Also, are we sure we can get another quality replacement in time before the transfer market closes. Yes, we have the Ox but we still need another wide player should Walcott leaves to act as an alternative. Jesus Navas is one name that has been bandied about but Spanish players are infamous for being homesick (remember Reyes) and would probably take a while to get used to the pace of the English league. All in all, it’s best if we try to work out a deal with the young lad. A difference of 30,000 if not a lot and I am sure if can be work out to a mutual beneficial agreement between both parties.
While Walcott’s future is still up in the air, another young Arsenal starlet has confirmed his departure from the club. Yesterday, the club announced that Henri Lansbury will join Nottingham Forest after both clubs agreed to a £1 million deal. Frankly, I am very surprised at this development because I rated Lansbury as one of the upcoming youth players that will shine this season. His performances while out on loan were impressive and certainly warranted a shot at the first team. If I was the manager, I will certainly put him in the squad over the likes of Diaby. What’s more surprising is that the club gave him a new multi-year contract last season so obviously they must rate him highly. I heard that there are some regulations that gave the club no choice other than to sell him but I don’t buy that one bit. I think it is a loss to Arsenal that we are giving away talents so cheaply.