The failure to buy a centre forward has led to usual clamour from sections of the fan base to oust the manager, burn down his house and to eat his children. Wenger supporters can point to the lack of availability in the market, the ridiculous price paid by United on the inexperience of Anthony Martial and express admiration at the boss for keeping his faith in his current squad. Personally I would have taken a £50m punt on Cavani and I think that if we had offered Liverpool £50m for Suarez a couple of years back we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation.
So that leaves us with Theo and I told you so….Play him up front.
My seat at the stadium is in the lower tier between the North Bank and the East Stand. It isn’t the best seat in the house by a long way but there really aren’t any bad seats. It means that I have had the pleasure/frustration of watching Theo close up for many years now. Theo came into the side as the great new hope. A rare English figure in a continental Wenger side that had started to disintegrate. Called up by his country at an early age, he had the full expectation of the nation on his shoulders and at Arsenal we really needed a new hero. THEO THEO THEO was and still is chanted every time he enters the fray, but let’s face it, as a right winger he just isn’t good enough for Arsenal. Play him up front.
When he joined the club he was 50% developed. Under the tutelage of Wenger he has developed at a painstakingly slow pace, improving 2 or 3% a year so that we find ourselves years later with a very good player, but not a great one. A player that struggles to beat a defender with the ball at his feet, a player who will often hide in a game and yet a player who can often produce a moment of magic. So what should we do with him when he wants a new and improved contract? Play him up front.
Let us look at the facts. He is fast, very fast. He is, according to Mr. Wenger, an intelligent footballer, a player that understand movement. He has a scoring record of about one goal in every four games, blimey that’s a good record for a winger. He has about the same amount of assists, not quite so good for a winger. So what should we do? I mean he doesn’t have the physicality (or the hair) of Giroud or the Duracell battery like qualities of Alexis but what the hell. He is fast, very fast and he scores goals. Play him up front.
I am firmly in the Arsene Knows camp. I think that age gives you a sense of perspective of his achievements at the club. This doesn’t mean that I always agree with his decisions and that I don’t get frustrated at times. For years now I have been banging the drum that we should stop trying to turn Theo into a good winger. We should be giving him the chance to become a great striker. Play him up front.
At the end of the season, if major injury free, I believe that Theo Walcott will have easily surpassed the 20 goal mark. If he has, at today’s prices, he will be worth over £50m. Play him up front and then I can say, I told you so….