Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Arsenal ready to pay Walcott what he wants -Gibbs offered new deal

Morning Gooners.

What a great result Saturday was. Having gone into the game calling for 100 per cent effort to be used to win the game, it was pleasing to see all the players give their all for the cause. They knew they couldn't be beaten by those lot and ensured we again came out on top.

The other thing I was looking for was one single player to be the catalyst for the performance as a whole. On Saturday I don't think one single player stood out for me. In the pub post match we were discussing who our man of the match would be and three players names were key: Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere.

If those trio can help inspire a good run of form for the next ten games, then the current situation we find ourselves in - sixth place in the league and five points behind third placed Chelsea - could look very different come the Christmas and New Year period.

I'm not suggesting that we might have a serious shot at the title after one result. But with the series of league games we've got coming up, there is no reason why we can't make things interesting for ourselves. If we show up in these games like we did at the weekend, then I don't think anyone can have any complaints about the results. I think as supporters, all we want to see if maximum effort being put in on the pitch.

We need consistency. That's one thing we've lacked in the past few weeks. Going into the game with the expectation we'll win is never a good mindset to be in. This Arsenal team need to work hard to get results. Previous teams in the Wenger era haven't had to do that because they've had a reputation. At the moment teams know they've got a chance to get something out of us, even if we do have a two goal lead.

And while the games are coming thick and fast, there is little time for work to be done on the training ground to fix things. Cracks can be papered over - Vermaelen at left back for example - but it doesn't hide the bigger issue that we are vulnerable at left back when Kieran Gibbs gets injured.

I believe it's right we hand the left back a new deal. He's proved what a vital cog he is in our team with his enforced absence through injury. And getting him tied down to five more years is a just reward for the good development he's made. However that doesn't excuse the lack of back up in the squad the manager has failed to account for.

One deal we really do need to sort out is that of Theo Walcott. We all know the situation. He's free to sign a pre-contract agreement in January with foreign clubs and from July he can sign a Bosman deal with English clubs. So a deal really needs to be sorted out by the end of December.

There is talk in today's Daily Mirror of the club's position softening on Walcott's wage demands. He's currently on £65k a week. Arsenal are offering him a £10k basic increase, while Theo himself wants closer to £100k a week. However the club believe - rightly or wrongly - that a compromise can be made with the player.

As many will know, I'm not Theo's biggest fan. But even I can see that it would be very poor business on the club's part to let a player who the manager has spent eight years working on and ironing out all his faults, leave for a nominal fee in January or for free next summer.

Theo is showing now that he's finally coming of age. His goals and assists show that he's not the wasteful and inconsistent player many believe him still to be. He might be limited as a footballer but what he does do, he does very well. And if we are to compete for titles now and in the future, we need to keep our better players and not sell them.

A line needs to be drawn with the selling culture which has become ingrained in our club. It is not as if the money is not there for Theo. We as supporters pay the highest ticket prices in England and the club's accounts are very healthy. But without a team which competes, there won't be the bums on seats which generates that cash.

The club will send out a message to all of the other players if they get Theo to sign a new deal. And it's a message which Jack Wilshere and the rest of the English core need to hear. Arsenal is about winning trophies and not about making profit.

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


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