David O’Leary, Tony Adams, TheoWalcott…. Dear Theo, Legend status waiting so don’t blow it

The face of a man who loves scoring for Arsenal FC?

There has been much written about Theo Walcott and I am sure much more will be until such time as the England International puts pens to paper on a new contract with Arsenal. The sense I am getting on twitter, other social media and the media in general is one of pessimism and the majority feel resigned him following van Persie, Song and other big name stars out of the Emirates. I sincerely hope this is not the case because I genuinely feel he has taken a step to a new level this season. There has been in increased maturity about him, a clinical coolness in his finishing and most significantly a greater awareness and accuracy about his final pass or cross. For all these reasons and to make a statement I am strongly of the opinion that the club need to all in their power to convince Theo to extend his stay in North London.

As you might expect though I have a slightly alternative perspective on the situation and ongoing contract talks. Different in that it does not involve the only two issues everyone else in concentrating on. So this blog is about Theo Walcott and the possibility of him signing a new deal but I will not be assessing  his supposed salary demands or his rumoured positional demands. Partly because we, or certainly not I, don’t actually know if he has demanded £100k a week or insisted on playing through the middle. This is press talk and speculation and I would rather deal with facts and come at this from a different angle. So Ivan/Arsene if you are reading blogs you may wish to listen to this boring statto for some assistance in your negotiations with young Theo and his agent.

Firstly however let’s hear what Theo said himself earlier this month:

“I am leaving it all to my agents and [the fans] will be the first to hear when something happens. It’s important for me that something gets sorted out, because I enjoy playing for this club.”

“I don’t think you can put a time frame on when it will be resolved though. When both parties are sure, it will happen when it happens.
My last contract took six or seven months, so we have to be patient, myself as well. But I’m enjoying my football at the moment, so it’s not affecting me at all on the pitch.”

This does not sound like a player anxious to leave Arsenal but who knows in football. What we do know I think is that Theo loves the club and owes Arsenal and Arsene a great deal, but then so did many who deserted us. So what is it I am alluding to that is on offer to Theo, which is I feel attainable and tangible? Well the title hints at it and I truly believe it. What is on offer for Theo is something quite real and that his former team mates have turned their back on. The offer has greater prize that you can place  a monetary value on and that prize is ‘legendary status’ with ARSENAL FC.

So what are the factors or elements which combine to secure greatness at our club, or any club?  Well you won’t go far wrong with loyalty, longevity, talent and of course being part of a trophy winning team. If I were Wenger what I would be trying to demonstrate to and convince Theo  of is that he has the opportunity to do what so many before him and since 2005 have failed to do. Alex Hleb, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song  and Robin van Persie, great footballers, yes, Arsenal legends NO. Theo Walcott could be the first young English player to break through at Arsenal and achieve legendary status since Ashley Cole. Many might indeed with some justification, and I would be among them, might argue that Cole gave up his right to that status at our club. So the only young English talent to achieve legendary status since the class of the 80’s Adams, Merson, Thomas and Rocastle was Ray Parlour.

Ray Parlour – The last homegrown Arsenal Legend

 

Am I being fanciful? Maybe but I have done a fair amount of statistical research and you might be surprised just how far Theo has come and how many games he has played for our club.

Walcott is still only 23 and 6 months old and has played 230 times for Arsenal. Is this an achievement? Well yes it is and Wenger mind want a few of the following facts and his finger tips when he next sits down with his prodigy.

David O’Leary the club’s record appearance holder ran out 772 times for the Arsenal and at 23 and 6 months her had played 250 times. only 20 more than Theo.

772 appearances for this LEGEND

Tony Adams, arguably one of the greatest players ever to pull on the red and white holds the second highest career total and was a one club man. Tony played 668 times for Arsenal but at 23 and 6 months he had appeared on 215 occasions. 15 less than Theo at the same age. Jack Wilshere has told us he wishes to emulate the achievements of Adams but Theo could easily get there first.

 

Time to listen to your heart Theo and sign. Read the advice above and history beckons

 

Now I cannot see Walcott playing at the top level for as long as these defensive legends in his role and when he relies so much on his pace,but should he do so, he is on track to get right up their in the higher echelons of appearances as an Arsenal player. So let’s bring his achievement at 23 in to context with modern Arsenal in the Premiership era.

Ray Parlour our last true homegrown legend by Theo’s present age and managed only 99 first team outings. However Ray went on to play 467 games for the might Arsenal and only 10 have played more. Perhaps more significant and the first target for Walcott should be Parlour’s record of playing more games in the Premiership for us than anyone else. Parlour appeared 379 times in the EPL and Walcott currently has 159 games under his belt. Being conservative and suggesting he only plays 33 games in the league a season Walcott would pass Parlour’s total during the 2018/19 season and he would be 29. Parlour was 32 when he played his last game in the ‘Invincibles’ campaign. Playing an average of 45 games in all competitions each season until Theo would also put himself ahead of Peter Simpson at Number 10 in the arsenal all time list by his 29th birthday.

How about some more short term incentives?  Well in 2 more years he will pass Ian Wright on 288, within 4 years Thierry Henry on 370. Stay until 2018 Theo and you will go beyond Paul Davis, Dennis Bergkamp and Martin Keown all in the 440s.

So let’s bring it up to date. Theo if he plays regularly until only the end of next season will pass our last 2 bail outs, van Persie and Fabregas for played 280 and 291 times  for Arsenal respectively. So if we secure one piece of silverware between now and the end of next season Walcott will have emulated the a fore mentioned in success and surpassed them in appearances. Anything Arsenal and Walcott achieve beyond the end of 2013/14 with ‘Financial Fair Play and new sponsorship deals will take Walcott into the ranks of Arsenal legends.

It is this carrot that I believe should be enough for Walcott. He obviously loves the club and has a true understanding of where he potentially could place himself in the folklore and history of Arsenal FC should he stay. The reality is that Theo Walcott could be the first Arsenal legend since the great players of the 1998 – 2005 when we start winning again. He has the opportunity to emulate his hero, Henry. Because of course the trophy winning is the final ingredient. Others were not prepared to stay and fight for legendary status. There is no doubt that Fabregas is one of the most talented players to ever pull on the red and white but for me he falls short of ‘Club Legend’ status and the same could be said for RVP.

To be a legend of Arsenal and to attain greatness with the cannon on your chest you have to have the talent,which Walcott has and this is increasing now with maturity. You have to show longevity and loyalty which Theo has the opportunity to do in the coming weeks. Finally you need to be  inspirational on the pitch and play a leading role in a team that wins silverware for Arsenal.

It is all there for Walcott if he believes in the Arsenal dream and vision for the next 3/4 years. He can be something that the likes of Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri cannot ever be. He can be a club legend at one club.  Even if RVP wins silverware at Manchester United he will never be a club legend at Old Trafford as he will only play 2/3 years there. It is the Charltons, Laws, Nevilles, Scholes and Giggs of this world who names will be inextricably linked with the rich heritage of the Red Devils, not RVPs. Nasri spending 2/3 years at each club will make you rich but will people from any one club look back upon you as a great? I sincerely doubt it mon ami.

So they you have it. Does Theo believe in the vision of the club and it’s coaching staff?  Because if he does surely the opportunity to write his name in the annals of AFC history and succeed where Fabregas, van Persie, Nasri, Adebayor and Song failed has to over ride all other considerations. Theo, yours is the face on the stadium, yours is the image of Ken Friar’s bridge, yours in the name spoken by Gooners in 20 years time and who knows yours is the statue??

I want to say to my grandson I was there when Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal. I was there when Theo broke down with emotion and cried lifting our first trophy in 8 years at Wembley in March 2013. I was there when Theo went beyond Ray Parlour’s Premiership appearance record and I was there when Lionel Messi brought his Barcelona team over to play Arsenal at the Emirates in Theo’s testimonial in 2016. In short I would like to be able to say I witnessed the making of a GOONER LEGEND.

So here’s hoping Theo see’s it my way and I like to finish with a short 2 minutes of why we need this guys i our team in the coming years.

NB: WARNING – This film may contain some distressing images. Try and concentrate on Theo’s assists and not who finishes them off.

 

[youtube.com/watch?v=vvKvIbqj6e8 100% 250]

 

 

Until next time thanks for reading.

Like what you read? Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter – http://twitter.com/goonerdave66

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33 comments

  1. Pingback: Arsenal News
  2. I agree Dave theo has a chance to be great its left to be seen if he takes it. But I have to say his behavior through all this has been exemplary.

  3. You brought a tear to my eye in the last few paragraphs – I think we need you Dave in the dressing room before each match and at the half time intervals. Inspirational stuff. Really hope Theo reads this (and of course Monsieur Wenger). Hel xxx

  4. Who knows theo’s mail so this can be mailed to him. It will surely touch the heart of one who truly loves this great club ¤sign da ting¤

      1. Great! Let’s ask him nicely, am sure it’s not a big deal, i mean, it’s just a mail address

  5. Why is it ok for Ivan Gazidis’ outrageous wage increases but Theo is being labelled greedy? Arent the players the revenue generators.Without the players, what exactly will Gazidis be selling in his marketing schemes? why cant we gooners think this far?

  6. I hope he stays. He really deserves his legend status if he stays. Especially in these times when it will be so easy for his head to be turned by money or potential glory elsewhere.
    He seems like a nice guy and is always the model professional. Lets just hope his Arsenal is more important to him than his bank account.

  7. Excellent.Never really looked at Theo like that. Never really been into statistics etc but yours were facinating.

  8. I want Theo to stay. My concern is that he is intelligent & articulate & is saying the right things but in the end they ate meaningless while the contract is not signed. Many have stated love for the club & then jumped ship. We don’t know the ins & outs – for me it’s simple; I would’ve signed months ago but then I’m a fan. Theo has matured & become a key player – I’d prefer him to sign then talk about loving the club & becoming a legend.

  9. You got it all sorted out, in my own opinion I think theo has the chance and opportunity to equal and surpass so many great players that have worn our famous red and white if he stays and sincerely in my own opinion again if he leaves it might just be the beginning of ups and dawn for him moving from one club to another and just end up being another penant, Adebayor, kolo toure or even Flamini.

  10. Hope Theo reads this one Dave, really good piece as usual. Its very fraustating that we (fans) get attached with certain players and next thing we know is their contract will be expiring. We wait all the time for certain players to be complete player. We polish them until they are finished products and …..u know what I mean. Theo is a young English player and I still cant accept he is in his last year with us. I hope he stay and proves me wrong but with my experience of my beloved arsenal fc, its going to be his last year. Shit Dave, we cant do anything!
    One more thing, If he stays, lets have his testimonial match after 2020 only, against Cesc Fabregas’ indepedent catalunians featuring messi, song and some other superstars on the next generation.

  11. Been a huge fan of Theo since day one. I remember being in school in January 05 & hearing everyone whispering “Walcott’s gone to Arsenal”. Now I’m a grown man & so is he & you can see it in his play. One of the very few world class players in our squad.
    I feel we as fans just can’t give out the banter anymore, because let’s be honest, we’re a selling a club & if Theo leaves it will be no ones fault except Arsenal’s. Theo has made it clear he wants to stay, so lets give him a few opportunities through the middle & give a raise. Maybe a concerted effort to get rid of Arshavin & Chamakh should be put in place so that we can pay him the wages. I fully see where he’s coming from. When a joke winger like Sinclair is on 90k, theo should be allowed 80 atleast.

    1. There are at least 3 players on £80k plus so I am supportive of his claim on current form.

  12. well put Dave as always,
    i for one have been a huge critic of his in the past,mainly due to the inconsistency,cos when we saw the good damn it was good… And now this year he’s really pushed on,still a few glimpses of his old self but alot rarer nowadays..
    I think more so than lookin at only his performances,we should look at the teams performances without him – saturday evening a perfect example, he’s bacome such a vital member these days…
    BUT, there’s always a BUT, ive a feeling we’re flogging a dead horse. I swear i can remember him saying that if his best buddy RVP left that he’s have to re-think his situation (i may be wrong).
    I really think if he was going to stay he’s have signed by now..
    He “enjoys playing for this club” mmmm, maybe it’s me, but that doesn’t sound empassioned to me..
    Or if it’s financial,maybe his agent was holding off til these deals were signed,knowing that there’d be even more pressure on Arsene and the board to cough up,as the fans know we’ve defo got the cash now..
    Anyways thats just hear say and my twisted minds opinions…
    But a great piece and even if he doesn’t stay for the stuff of legends,i hope he at least gives us 4 more years,he can still make fortunes at 27…

    1. Agree with Woody’s point on this one Dave. I think Theo is saying the right things, but he’s looking at a move now. I hope I’m wrong, I hope you’re right and I hope he cements his place in Arsenal history, but I just can’t help thinking we won’t see him at the Emirates too often next season. Perhaps I’ve just been scarred by hearing this from players that are good at saying the right things,
      I don’t know, but I just can’t see it. I’m going to enjoy his contribution this year, cheer him until the last game, then all bets are off if he jumps ship for a big fat payday.

  13. The one thing I hate is when Theo says “It’s out of my hands”, agents are not interested in legend status, they are only interested in their commission percentage. Looking at the cost of letting yet another class player go, surely there is only one possible thing that Wenger can do. Unfortunately, I will not be holding my breath.

    A successful team has a mixture of players who have been in the team years and younger players coming through. The experienced players guide and lead the younger ones and show what is expected of them. We have sold that experience. And it will take time to build it back into the backbone of the team.

  14. Quality writing as usual Dave. I have always thought that Theo is a genuinely nice guy. If he use’s his head and doesn’t listen to people who have their own interests at heart,not his. He could be an Arsenal legend & along with you, I would love to see it.
    I just hope he realises that a huge amount of fans really do appreciate him.

  15. Dave, what I don’t understand is why it takes 6-7 months to sort a contract out, for me that’s rubbish and stalling tactics. I don’t want him to leave at all, but I don’t want him holding the club to ransom, I’ve always said no one is bigger than this club, and I maintain that. He could achieve legend status here, but it also depends on the boards mentality when dealing with this, I dread to think what will happen if he follows RVP and the rest of them out of the club. I want him upfront, and I know that’s what he wants. Let’s just hope this gets sorted out very quickly. I don’t want the season to be about his contact.

    I enjoyed you blog by the way..

  16. article in weekend press suggests theos house up for sale.not a good situation if he intends to sign and stay with us?

  17. that last part was touching, Ì also want to be tell my grandkids all the beautiful transition periods of an Arsenal legend. Really hope he signs & think if we win the League cup it might go along way in convincing him and others to stay. Sign da ting Theo¿..Great post Dave 🙂

  18. Great work Dave, why on earth does the club leave it so long to start contract talks? Theo and Bacary have been excellent on the right yet we are facing up to losing both players for leaving it until the last minute

  19. I personally think he will go, money talks far too loudly for him to listen to his heart or the fans for that matter. If he stays, I’ll be ecstatic because he’s slowly becoming the player we bought him to be and it will be painful see him fulfill his potential elsewhere.

  20. Someone needs to get Theo to read this. Theo is fast becoming the player we most wanted him to be.hope he stays to be counted among the clubs legends

  21. We still can’t stump up 100k a week for one of our best players to stay. We sold our two best players of last season Song and RVP- & RVP to Manchester Utd of all places. The season before, our two best players- Nasri & Fabregas were also sold, as well as Clichy. Two years before that, key players at the time- Adebayor & Toure were sold to Man City. The year before that, two more key players gone- Flamini allowed to run his contract down & Hleb sold to Barcelona, plus promising Diarra allowed to go to Real. It’s been going on forever now- Anelka, Overmars, Petit, Henry etc.Yeah we are making ridiculous profits on these players- whoopee!! If you look at a club like Bayern Munich they just wont sell if they don’t want to. Our net spend over the last five years is minus £45 million. That is £30 mill less than Everton, £33 mill less than Wigan, £43 mill less than Swansea, £48 mill less than Spurs, £60 mill less than Norwich, £63 mill less than Southampton, £71 milli less than West Ham, £81 mill less than QPR, £107 mill less than Utd, £114 mill less than Villa, £120 mil less than Stoke. I dont expect us to compete with Chelsea & City in the transfer market while Usmanov remains marginalised but they spent £276 mill & £452 mill more than us on transfers in this period, respectively. If you look back since 2003, our net transfer spend is minus £23 million, you have Spurs outspending us by £120 mill, Liverpool by £180 mill, Southampton are the closest to us, spending 16 million more. It is absolutely ridiculous and illustrates just what miracles Wenger has been working- so fans should always bare this in mind when about to criticise him. When you consider we are in the Champions League every single year and the amount of money this generates, something is massively wrong- we are trully a business masquerading as a football club.

  22. Well put. Only in the last few months, in a similar way to you, have I been convinced that I really want him to stay. He has stepped up this season for me.
    You’d like to think that players consider things like legendary status but I have my doubts.
    The thing is unless he goes to Chelsea, either Manchester team, or abroad (all unlikely I think) then I can’t see he can argue that he’s leaving to win things (like recent previous leavers probably could). And if it’s not trophies then it’s money. And if that happens then he’s just as bad as all the rest.
    Does he want to be known as another greedy mercenary footballer, or a legend? We’ll find out pretty soon I guess.

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