Arsenal Transfer News: Re-Signing Theo Walcott Puts Gunners in Right Direction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2013

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

Arsene Wenger had no choice but to sign Theo Walcott.

It had been rumored for the last few weeks the English forward would be offered a new long-term deal to stay at Arsenal. Now it's official.

David Hytner of The Guardian is reporting Walcott has signed a new contract for the next three-and-a-half years, bumping his salary from £55,000 to £100,000 a week.

Prior to this year, it was much more debatable as to whether he in fact deserved a massive wage increase and could contribute to Arsenal in a meaningful way.

Walcott has put any of those doubts to rest with his play this year. He's scored eight goals in 17 Premier League appearances and one goal in three Champions League games.

He's long made Wenger and seemingly every world football fan aware of his desire to play more centrally in the attack. Finally getting a real chance at centre-foward, Walcott has been superb.

His re-signing gives the club the kind of positive momentum that it has largely lacked during transfer windows, having lost Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie in the previous two summers.

Bringing in Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazola couldn't ease the sting of seeing RVP signing with Manchester United.

Walcott's signing is also a sign to supporters and players on the club and elsewhere that Arsenal is willing to spend a little more for its own players.

The club has a wage structure in place, but if a player warrants a massive salary, the Gunners are willing to break that ceiling in order to offer an enticing deal.

This also ends any chance of a long, drawn-out saga like van Persie's prolonged contract discussions. Not having reached a new deal with Walcott would have added the kind of unnecessary drama all too prevalent at the club.

There's already the high ticket prices, the lack of spending during transfer windows, questions over how much money is available, the motivations of owner Stan Kroenke and other board members and the future of Wenger for Arsenal to deal with.

In addition, with the way Walcott is playing, it's hard to argue the Gunners would be better off without him.

There's never been any doubt as to his physical abilities. Few players in the world are as fast as he is. At times, though, he's looked like a track star moonlighting as a footballer. This year, his tactical nous has caught up to his world-class speed.

And he arrived at Arsenal at a such a young age that it's hard to believe that Walcott is only 23-years-old. His best years are still ahead of him and likewise for Arsenal.