Theo Walcott has re-invigorated my daily blog today and made this week potentially much less boring… He’s given us an insight to what the players feel and what they want from the manager. It always seems like the fans are the ones who want new signings and marquee signings. Yes, that is true, we want to have “big” players at the club (no, I don’t mean Fat Frank Lampard), and big players cost big money. Gone are the days where you can find a world class players playing in a lower league in another country and turn them into the next big thing. When Arsene joined, our contacts and scouting was ahead of the rest – but now, everyone, including Bolton, have similar scout networks.
Theo’s recent comments come from not just him, but from the players as a whole, and they want to play with better players. Yes, Theo is a bit rubbish himself, and Cesc and Nasri probably think, “God, come on Theo, just pass it back” or “Come on Theo, make a run past the defender”… but nevertheless, he has shown in spurts that he has something, and the sentiment speaks volumes…
“If we can build our squad and hopefully keep our best players, it will look good for us. We need to win something next season. It has been so long. The fans have waited so long and as players we don’t like seeing every year go without winning anything, especially a big club like Arsenal.”
It funny how the players always talk about Arsenal not winning, when they are the people under-performing. Cesc and Nasri feel the same as Theo, but how many misses did they combine to miss this season – how many fluffs did they fluff – yes, defensively they were let down, but there should be some collective responsibility on this.
“It’s totally up to Arsene Wenger, he’s the manager and he knows what to do; he believes in the squad. He saw things that us players wouldn’t have seen after the Carling Cup final – he’ll know what to do. Maybe we do need some new signings, a mega signing that’s going to get the fans on board. I’ve heard rumours of Karim Benzema at Real Madrid. Someone like that would help you hold on to your best players, get the crowd on their feet as well. We have to win something next season, if we don’t then I think a lot of players will go I’m sure of that.
Firstly, it’s clear to see that the players want a big signing, and of course, signing Chamakh on a free or Benezma from Real Madrid are two different things. The interesting part of the comment is that Theo thinks “a lot of players will go” if we don’t win something… well, maybe he is one summer ahead of himself, maybe the exodus will start now? But it’s not exactly the right thing to do – it feels like a threat – but a threat we, as fans, can do nothing about.
“A big club like Arsenal, being in the top four, the Champions League and then finishing fourth is disappointing – we need to be winning things, the manager knows that. I think it’s going to be tough in the Premier League next season; Manchester City look very dangerous, Liverpool are looking bright too. Obviously City winning the FA Cup, they are going to want more and more and they will feel confident after finishing third ahead of us so there is going to be a lot of teams challenging – it’s not going to be easy.”
Theo all but admitted that Man City have overtaken us and that’s also quite disappointing as a fan to hear. You really want to hear that “we’ll be back next season”, and a bit more fighting talk. The worst thing is, Theo is right – we are now the fourth best team in the country and no matter what we think – unless Arsene acts positively in the transfer market, we will be fighting for the same position next season. News that Liverpool are about to sign Jordan Henderson from Sunderland for £20m as well as the additional signings they are linked with – they will be a force next season. And if we don’t strengthen, then we will not be able to compete.
Perhaps a change of formation to accommodate Theo up front is called for?
“I would prefer to be playing up front – I was signed as a striker. Sometimes when you’re playing out wide, it’s difficult to get in the game. I think manager wanted to develop me on the right and I think I’ve shown what I can do this season – hopefully he trusts me and I can play up front next season. I’ll have a chat with him when I come back and see what he’s thinking. I believe I can give something different to the team we haven’t had for a while so why not?”
And it’s actually something that the majority of fans I’ve spoken too are keen to see in action. Theo up front, with Van Persie just behind him. I suppose it hangs on whether Cesc is with us next season and if he’s not, it will be much easier to change formation. Hopefully he will be, and we’ll revert to the previously sucessful 4-4-2… but only Arsene can tell us what’s going to happen!
And just to top it off, despite the ranting and raving… Theo admits that it IS actually the players fault that we finished fourth…
“Our team has some great individual players but maybe as a unit we’re just not doing it. It’s totally up to the manager who is going to come and who is going to go. Everyone always say about the defence [being the problem] but it’s not just the defence at times it’s the whole team; the way we defend.”
Let’s hope that the manager gets on with sorting this out…
It is our biggest summer ever under Arsene Wenger – isn’t it Theo?