Arsenal Transfer News: Why Gunners Can't Get Rid of Theo Walcott

Jeremy FuchsCorrespondent IIIDecember 24, 2012

WIGAN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22:  Theo Walcott of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Arsenal at the DW Stadium on December 22, 2012 in Wigan, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Theo Walcott and Arsenal are in the midst of a bitter contract dispute, one that has the potential to shape the franchise for years to come. 

Walcott has reportedly rejected Aresenal's overtures to resume contract talks. While five of Arsenal's best homegrown players—Jack Wilshire, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson—have signed contract extensions, Walcott's hesitance is holding Arsenal back.

Wilshire has pressed Walcott to sign an extension, saying, "I’m always winding him up, saying ‘Come on Theo, sign.’ It’s up to him and the club to reach an agreement, but Theo knows what he means to us and to the fans, so I hope he will."

Walcott is a hot commodity, and teams such as Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and perhaps Manchester United are all interested. Walcott, according to the BBC, wants €100,000 a week, or $131,780 in US dollars. Arsenal is seemingly willing to bump his salary up to €75,000, or $98,955 in US dollars. 

It's clear, however, that Walcott is vital to Arsenal's future success. Walcott is speedy and athletic, with the potential to play all over the field. He attracts defenders, leaving room for open teammates. 

Yes, Walcott has more to learn to become a truly effective striker and his age—23—suggests that he will be able to do so in time. We know he can finish, but he's still rough around the edges.

Still, if Arsenal were to lose a talent like Walcott, it would be a big blow. Walcott is such a unique player and has the potential to become a top goalscorer. Losing him now, especially for nothing, would rid the Gunners of a star. He leads the team with 11 goals and seven assists and is still developing. The sky is the limit for him and watching him reach that potential elsewhere would be pretty devastating for Arsenal.

If the Gunners are to get Walcott under contract, the two sides will probably have to meet in the middle with their contract demands. That's entirely possible, but if Walcott does not feel he's getting the money he deserves, and feels he could get it elsewhere, then he might bolt. The Gunners might have to overpay to keep Walcott. But it will surely be worth it.