However, before the Gunners take a step forward, they must first make sure that they don’t take one backward.
ESPN reports that former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes his old club is all but guaranteed to make a move this January transfer window. He said:
They haven't won anything for a little while now so that indicates that the players need to improve, [Arsene Wenger] has lost very good players also but he will be looking to buy players in the future. You can be certain of that.
Before the Gunners get to that point, though, they must take care of something that is of higher priority.
Theo Walcott’s contract.
The clock is ticking on the 23-year-old English midfielder’s deal. It expires at the end of the 2012-13 season and losing him would be devastating. Before Wenger even begins to look to sign more talent to resurrect the once dominant football club, he must first get an agreement done with Walcott.
That has been the manager’s stance and that it should remain. Keown said that he agrees with Wenger’s approach of putting Arsenal’s own star first (via ESPN):
I think [Wenger] is just being intelligent, if you are a player at a club you want to feel pretty special and [Walcott] is pretty special at the moment. He is a priority at the football club, they've nurtured this player now for the last seven years from a boy to a man and he wants to make sure that he feels extra special.
Walcott should feel special.
In 16 appearances, he leads the club with eight goals and is tied for the lead with six assists. On Dec. 29, he practically defeated Newcastle single-handedly, finishing with a hat trick on top of two assists. He’s far too talented to risk waiting until the postseason to redo his deal.
So, as nice as it would be to sign the likes of Adrian Lopez or another footballer who would instantly upgrade the Gunners, they must continue to think big picture and re-sign Walcott before making any other splashes.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.