Home Premier League Arsenal The contract saga that won’t go away.

The contract saga that won’t go away.


As Robin Van Persie left Arsenal for Manchester United, Arsenal fans would be forgiven if they thought things couldn’t get any worse for them, especially when dealing with contracts. However, just months after losing their star-asset, they are potentially weeks away from losing another star in Theo Walcott. 

Contracts at Arsenal don’t seem to be dealt with like most clubs usually deal with contracts. Recently it has been noticed that Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, doesn’t really want to offer contracts to his players, unless they are in the last year of their current offer. The problem with this is that it then gives the player all the power in the world as he will be able to demand what he wants and if he doesn’t get what he wants, he can walk out on a free.

As an Arsenal fan myself, I saw Arsenal let their captain’s contract run to his final year. What on earth was Wenger or the board thinking? Yes, Robin Van Persie has been injury prone ever since joining Arsenal, but what turned out to be his last year at the club showed why Arsenal should have never let his contract run down to the last year.

The Dutchman had one year left in his contract at the start of the 2012/2013 season and this left Arsenal with a question. Do they sell their star-man and their captain for a healthy sum, or do they keep him for another year and try persuade him to sign a new contract, but facing the risk of him declining the offers and leaving on a free. Arsenal fought and fought to keep Van Persie at the club, but eventually the Dutchman announced that Arsenal wasn’t the club for him. 

As I am an Arsenal fan, I was sickened to hear our captain had chosen money over the club that had developed him into the world-class player that he is. What made it even worse was that for seven years, he spent more time on the injury table than he did on the pitch. 

We all know how the Van Persie situation ended, so lets leave that there and never mention him again.

So why am I writing yet another Arsenal article? Well this time it’s not about Thierry Henry and it’s not about Arsene Wenger’s demise. This time, it is firmly about Theo Walcott and the awful truth that Arsenal are going to lose him in January. I say this because the date today is the 12/12/2012. In a month’s time, Theo is allowed to agree to a pre-contract with a foreign club which would see him leave on a free. 

What do we know about this whole situation then.

Arsenal have made it clear that they want to keep Theo at the Emirates Stadium. We also know that the English international has already rejected a five-year contract worth £75k-a-week, but the winger has insisted that it isn’t about money and it is in fact about his role at the club.

Theo Walcott is mainly played down the wing at Arsenal, but he has made it abundantly clear time after time that he wants to play in the centre and become the next Thierry Henry at Arsenal. The boss, Arsene Wenger, has said that in time, Theo will get a chance in the centre, but for now, he clearly sees him as a winger.

At the start of the season, the boss made it very clear that he wasn’t going to give in to Walcott’s demands and he actually benched him for the majority of the opening month or so. Whenever Walcott did play, he actually performed very well and scored several goals for the club and also guided Arsenal to a 7-5 victory over Reading in the Capital One Cup.

Every time Theo or Arsene have been interviewed about the contract situation, Theo says his agents are dealing with it and he has nothing to say about it. As for Wenger, he says talks are ongoing and he is very frustrated that is hasn’t been sorted yet. As an Arsenal fan, I am pretty confident this means that there has been no berakthrough in contract talks and in fact Theo is all-but out the door already.

Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Juventus are all very much interested in the winger and I am confident they will be sniffing around for his signature come January, especially as he will be available for as little as £8,000,000 because of his contract.

So there are the facts. Now for my opinion on this saga.

Why oh why has Arsene Wenger and/or the board, let this happen again?! We have just lost our captain and our star player Robin Van Persie because his contract ran into his last year and now here we are again with Walcott, who is undoubtedly one of our best players.

Theo will leave and I am 95% sure on that because if he wanted to stay at the club, he would have signed by now. It is reported that Arsenal have offered him 80k-a-week and are refusing to go any higher. Whether they have told Walcott he can be played in the centre, that I do not know.

Where Theo will go I have no idea, but today it was reported that Manchester United wanted to go for the winger and try complete a swap deal with Nani going in the opposite direction.

Walcott is believed to be interested in joining up with his close friend, Robin Van Persie at Manchester United and I personally believe this move could happen.

As a fan this is nothing but frustrating. Arsenal are showing lack of fight in keeping their best players and to add more insult to injury, they are losing their star players to their main rivals. As well as Walcott, there is another contract dispute with right back, Bacary Sagna, so there is another worry for Arsenal fans like myself.

If Theo Walcott does in fact leave Arsenal, I for one will be hugely disappointed with the board and Arsene Wenger himself.

How long can we keep losing our best players?

Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin Van Persie….will Walcott be next?


Alex William Batt


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