If Arsenal and Theo Walcott want to stay together, the club and player are each going to need to learn one very important word.
With the January transfer window just one day away, one positive for the Gunners' supporters is that Walcott's departure is far from imminent. From Matt Law of The Mirror:
Walcott, 23, has no plans to quit Arsenal in the January window, but Arsenal are keen to sort out his future.
Following informal talks between Walcott, Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis earlier this month, the club want official talks to recommence early in the New Year.
Even if a contract extension cannot be immediately agreed, Walcott expects to see out the season at the Emirates.
He will reject approaches from foreign clubs to sign a pre-contract agreement for next season, with Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Inter Milan interested.
As Law notes, one of the sticking points has been that Arsenal are sticking to an £80,000 a week offer, while Walcott is asking for £100,000 a week.
Hmmm, what if we just split the difference and went with £90,000 per week? That seems fairly simple, right?
But another sticking point may be Walcott's desire to play centrally as a forward rather than playing out wide as a winger, which seems to suit his talents. While I've certainly been against using Walcott as a striker, he did score a hat trick against Newcastle and now has 14 goals in all competitions for the Gunners.
Perhaps a role as a striker in certain games is actually feasible. Wenger has given him some opportunities at the position, and should continue to do so. However, Walcott must also recognize his natural fit at the winger position and be willing to play out wide when called upon to do so.
If Walcott can continue to display a consistent finishing touch, it may override the fact that he isn't a target in the box and isn't strong enough to hold up play in the manner of a more traditional striker. Plus, his pace and agility on the ball does make him a matchup nightmare for plodding centre-backs.
Walcott has earned a further look playing centrally, and that's where the compromise of these negotiations come into play. Wenger has earned the right to utilize his players as he sees fit, but Walcott has proven that his desire to play centrally also presents tactical advantages.
If the two sides can meet in the middle on financial terms, Wenger can keep an open mind and Walcott can accept playing both centrally and out wide (and in the short term, probably more of the latter), there is no reason Walcott should depart Arsenal.
The last thing the Gunners need is to lose another young, promising player. Keeping him should be as simple as a little compromise.
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