Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Gnabry steals Wilshere's thunder -PHW slams Walcott's advisors -Pat Rice scouts Zaha

Morning Gooners.

Jack Wilshere is continuing his comeback and last night played 74 minutes in a 2-0 win over Reading under-21s at Underhill. Wilshere made a valuable contribution - playing two key passes to set up both goals but it was German youngster Serge Gnabry who caught the eye.

With Arsene Wenger watching on, the 17-year-old scored Arsenal's first goal and caused problems for the home side for the rest of the match, according to the official website's report on the game.

There was further good news for the manager as well with the return to action of Bacary Sagna for the first time this season. The Frenchman played 61 minutes before being substituted. On the other side of defence Andre Santos was given a 90-minute workout in case Kieran Gibbs isn't fit for the Norwich game.

Meanwhile Chairman Peter Hill-Wood has broken his silence over Theo Walcott's on-going contract dispute with the club.

Hill-Wood told the Daily Star:

"We have got our general overall wage structure and we are not prepared to break it for anybody.
"We have made an offer which he didn’t think was acceptable and that is the end of it. We think it is a very reasonable offer.
"For the moment his people are still talking to us and we hope it will be resolved. But don’t ask me when, because I haven’t a clue.
"I hope that he will eventually come round and sign. It will be a pity if he does not, but the whole issue of pay for footballers has got totally out of hand and they don’t get terribly well advised a lot of the time."

Arsenal certainly seem to think that £75,000 a week for Walcott would be a good deal. The Star piece talking about there being an issue with Theo's image rights... he wants more from the club for using his name and picture in marketing and advertising campaigns.

As much as I don't rate Theo as a footballer, I can see that he does add something to our squad. If we want to have any kind of shot at winning the league we are going to need a strong squad and selling players who can make a difference - like Theo did on Saturday - isn't going to help our cause.

I don't think Theo is a £100k a week player. Nor do I think he's got what it takes to play successfully on his own as our central striker. But if we can reach a compromise with him, I would be happy.

However I guess the club has weighed up whether they think they can either promote someone from within or sign someone else who can do what Theo does more efficiently. And they obviously think that £75k a week is good money.

Perhaps they think they can get Crystal Palace's 19-year-old winger Wilfried Zaha do produce similar numbers to Theo's. And that's why Wenger has asked Pat Rice to scout the player, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Of course a 19-year-old isn't going to being parachuted straight into the Arsenal first team from the Championship and perform to the standards Arsene Wenger has set. But we've got other players who are going to be fighting for a first team spot next season - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi who could come in and do a job for the team.

Personally I don't believe Theo will sign a new deal with the club and he'll leave either in January for a fee or for nothing next July. I think we've gone too far down the road with Theo for him, and his people, not to be thinking of the riches of a Bosman transfer.

I hope I'm proved wrong. But the greedy badger has taught us there is no loyalty in football.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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