Theo Walcott: No More Excuses for Arsenal Star Not to Sign New Contract

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Theo Walcott of Arsenal celebrates scoring their fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Three games played in his preferred central position, resulting in four goals and winning a penalty. A man of the match performance in Arsenal's 7-3 win over Newcastle United that should end the debate about his best position.

So why won't Theo Walcott sign a new contract with Arsenal?

The England international has no more excuses not to agree to a new deal with the Gunners. He is playing as a central striker and even when he has operated out wide, Walcott is still making decisive contributions.

He is developing his undoubted talent and potential into near-superstar status. So why leave? More money can be the only answer.

Walcott has certainly made it easier for Arsenal to concede to his reported £100,000 wage demands. That's after a hat-trick and two assists to demolish a plucky Newcastle team and move Arsenal up to fifth.

It was a true match-winning display from Walcott. It should end the debate about his football intelligence and any other issues.

Walcott has the talent to be an elite player. The only question is whether he is motivated enough to reach that level?

At the moment the answer is a resounding yes. Although it is hard to resist the cynical thought that Walcott has suddenly found consistency, right when he is seeking a lucrative new deal.

For Arsenal, it is eerily similar to Robin van Persie managing to stay injury free for the only time in his Gunners career, as his contract was running down.

However, perhaps the real question is whether Arsenal can afford not to give into Walcott's supposed demands? It's not easy to argue in favour of letting Walcott walk.

He has been a key contributor in a trying season. His recent performances though the middle have inspired a run that now includes four straight wins and 15 goals.

That's put the Gunners within reach of that coveted fourth-place berth. If Walcott leaves, Arsenal will be losing a decisive attacking outlet.

He has now produced 15 goals, his best ever scoring return. He has also been a consistent supply of assists.

That dual-threat could bring Arsene Wenger back to debating where best to play Walcott. It's particularly relevant after Olivier Giroud entered the fray as a substitute an netted twice against Newcastle.

That meant Walcott moved back out to the right flank. Yet he still managed to provide two assists and eventually completed his hat-trick, after drifting over to the left.

His cross for Giroud's first was a moment of true, instinctive quality. That should forever end the debate about it mattering where he plays.

The difficulty for Wenger is that Walcott and Giroud represent polar opposites. Who plays in the middle, dictates different kinds of forward lines and affects Arsenal's overall style.

The Gunners have certainly played with more fluidity and quickness since Walcott moved to the middle. Of course his recent performances, especially the latest, will certainly encourage more suitors for his signature.

Yet Walcott has become the focal point of this Arsenal team. Could he really expect to be the same anywhere else?

Liverpool and Chelsea build their attacks around Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres, respectively. Manchester City would surely only offer Walcott limited opportunities. At Manchester United, he would be expected to act as a foil for Robin van Persie, just as he did at Arsenal.

However, none of this will matter to Arsenal if Walcott opts for pastures new. He will be the one who makes that decision.

Wenger has done a lot to accommodate him, but will certainly incur the wrath of many fans if Walcott walks. If he does, it certainly won't be position, or development that lures him away.