So it looks as though Theo Walcott will finally sign a new long term deal at Arsenal, ending yet another public contract dispute for the Gunners board over one of their top stars. But why has the England winger decided to take a different path to that chosen by Van Persie, Fabregas, Cole and countless other world class performers? In fact if you put together a team of ex Arsenal players who have left the Emirates in the past 10 years, there’s a pretty good chance that team would compete for the Champions League right now!
Walcott seems to have found form just at the right time playing in his preferred number 9 position. This along with the teams patchy run and the heartbreaking image of Van Persie scoring goals for fun at Old Trafford has persuaded Arsenal they just cannot lose another top star.
But it seems the re-signing of Walcott alone will not take Arsenal back to the heavy heights of the days when Henry, Pires and Bergkamp ruled the roost. And although Jack Wilshere is starting to look like the player he was before the injury, the team looks in desperate need of a new direction, before they pay the ultimate price and finish outside the top 4.
With the frustration level of the fans seemingly at an all time high, many of who have started to question the continued employment of the previously untouchable Wenger. It is now time for the club to start competing in the transfer market with the likes of United, City and Chelsea. Otherwise the task of selling the dream of a move to the Emirates for the world’s best players will becomes an almost impossible one.
On the field the team enters its 8th year without a piece of silverware and the loss to Bradford in the League Cup did little to persuade anyone this run would end anytime soon. Last night’s win over Swansea at least keeps the dream alive in the FA Cup, and no team can be discounted in the Champions League as Chelsea so amazingly proved last season.
So all of this adds up to a very important few weeks in the career and legacy of Arsene Wenger. A daunting Champions League tie with Bayern Munich, league games against Chelsea and Liverpool, but perhaps most importantly the January transfer window. In recent history Arsenal have decided to dip their toe in the transfer window rather than making a big splash like their competitors. With Walcott ready to sign again, following the likes of Wilshere, it is now time for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger to make a big statement and show us they are again ready to compete at the top table.
By Ian Dyer
Follow Ian Dyer on Twitter @_iandyer