The moment Theo Walcott put pen to paper on his new contract yesterday it marked a moment in Arsenal history that could be looked back on as a turning point in Arsenal fortunes. The signing is much deeper than securing the services of a promising young player with so many years ahead of him to make history for the club.
Although the signing of Walcott in addition to the five youngsters who penned new deals earlier this season has gone a long way to stabilising the team and securing a British spine of the team for the future it is still the one secured for Walcott that is the most important/significant.
The reason why I am saying this is for the club to retain the services of Theo Walcott taking into account the stage he was at with his contract it showed to the fans that the club was able to secure the services of a star asset who had held all the cards in terms of their career choice.
When the last transfer window shut at the end of August with Theo not signing a contract in many fans eyes, myself included it seems the days of Walcott as an Arsenal player were over. We had been there before in recent times with former captain Robin Van Persie; once he reached the stage where he could talk to other clubs his departure was inevitable.
Much like Samir Nasri before him the players were the ones that had the power over the club in negotiations and dictated proceedings. Arsenal is too big a club to be the ones taking the runner up spot in any standoff with their players. The years haven’t been too kind to the club in the past 8 years meaning negotiation powers have weakened, the lack of silverware has certainly dented the clubs standing amongst other big clubs. Where in the past players would want to play for a club based on their admiration for their style of play and history this has been overtaken by the desire for quick silverware and/or extortionate wages.
All those years back Matthieu Flamini started the trend when he upped sticks and headed for AC Milan on a free; the club has since struggled at times in negotiations to persuade players that Arsenal were going places as their contracts moved rapidly towards the final year.
This is why when Theo Walcott signed the contract when he was in a position to start negotiations with any club of his and his agent’s choice it could signal a buck in the trend. It sent out a message to all that Arsenal does have the power to hold onto its star players even at its most vulnerable in negotiation proceedings.
Many will mention that the reported wages of £100k are a bit over the top for Theo, maybe they are but sometimes you have to pay that little extra to show your ambition. If Theo was to decide to move on he would have commanded that £100k wage elsewhere with plenty suitors out there so to convince him to stay was a big moment for the club.
To discuss his transition to striker or his recent surge in set piece duties is for another time, right now we need to acknowledge and salute Theo Walcott for surprising a lot of us in committing himself to the club and now focus on moving on as part of a core of players that will take Arsenal forward (hopefully introducing some silverware to the barren trophy cupboard in the process).
Young Theodore James Walcott you may have dragged your heels over the past 6 months but you made the right decision in the end, you will not regret your choice.
Enjoy your day people.
Please feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates of the blog.