Is Theo Worth his Wages?

9 years ago yesterday,  a 16 year old born in Stanmore, North London was signed by Mr. Wenger. His arrival aroused much excitement because this kid was meant to be the best attacking prospect in the land. His name? Theo Walcott.

He was so good as a young boy that he was sponsored by Nike at the age of 14 and much to his credit refused an opportunity to join Chelsea. Joining Southampton Theo was the youngest player in S’ton’s long history to make a debut in the first team – he was just 16 and 3 months. Scoring a goal in his first starting game and playing with such verve that he became  one of the BBC Young Sports Personalities of 2005 (winning it in his first AFC season ).

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Walcott signed for us in Jan 2006 whilst still a 16. y.o for £9m. I was excited – I bet you were excited. He took the 14 shirt which shows just how confident a young man he is.

How do we assess his time at Arsenal? Do you think he is worth the hype and the huge wages?

Let us start with the number of games he has played – almost 200 in a 9 year spell = 22 a season. Not good. From the season out with the shoulder injuries to last years knee-knack Theo has spent much time in the massive AFC treatment mansion. Yet when fit he is a potent attacking weapon and a man whose defensive abilities are under-estimated.

Perhaps my impression of Walcott is through the rose coloured glasses of absence but he is one of my favourite players. I love how he skins the full back or scores by shooting across the keeper a’la TH14. I like his smile and his honesty, unlike most speedsters the man doesn’t dive  – he is a bloke I would love my daughter to marry (if I had one!),

But is my assessment skewed by my liking the fellow? Would we be better off selling him for a bucketload of money in summer rather than go through another tortuous contract negotiation?

A goal every 5 games is not a particularly good return for someone who creates and is given so many scoring opportunities, yet in my opinion his absence cost us the title last season – we had no-one who could scare the opposition; a situation AW recognised and remedied with the purchase of Alexis.

The fans love him as witnessed by the reaction when he warms up prior to coming on as sub. Which brings us to the nub of this post …. Is Theo still an automatic starter in our best first eleven?

Given the wealth of attacking talent we have and the development of The Ox where does Theo fit in? Do we drop the magical Santi or the mercurial Alexis? We have two target men which indicates that either Welbz or OG will always start centrally.

Rasp has been writing about a player having “their time” (re:Coq) and perhaps Walcott has missed his. I cannot see him as anything but a super-sub who will start perhaps one in three games. Is that enough for a man who is an automatic pick for England and has such a high media profile?

What to you think?

written by Big Raddy

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169 Responses to Is Theo Worth his Wages?

  1. ‘morning all, that’s a post ad a half BR.

    Both the post itself and Theo deserve a considered response. So having carefully read the post twice I’m off for some toast and coffee while I think about the subject.

    Back in a while.

  2. Rasp says:

    Excellent post Raddy. I like Theo, I like him being a destructive weapon in Arsenal’s armoury. In financial terms, having Theo is good business.

    If I can relate Theo’s worth to yesterday’s post, I’d say he ticks all of the boxes except maybe Injury history.

    He plays in the top rated position, he has unique ability, he’s highly marketable, he’s the right age, and he’s English … all these add to his value.

    I think he is worth his money as a player in the squad of a club that consistently competes in multiple competitions and where rotation of players is key to sustaining quality. If Theo isn’t happy with that situation then he should be sold. I would estimate his worth to be around the £25m mark.

    What mustn’t happen (unless unavoidable) would be to let him run his contract down into its final year.

  3. RA says:

    I like your Post very much, Raddy. ;-0

    Over the years I have made a number of attempts to explain my own views on Theo, but in the nature of these things my opinions have changed this way and that, depending on circumstances, so perhaps I can try again.

    Opinions for me are in part influenced by people I like and respect, and I measure them against the milestones of their expressed views.

    Many of my favourite people hold out the hope, or wish, that Theo will get thru his myriad injury problems and become the player we all thought he would and still yearn for.

    Mostly they still cling steadfast to that belief, and I respect that.

    Seeing Theo for the first time playing against our then youth team, he totally captured the attention as he skinned out lads for pace and looked simply stunning. Later games for S’hampton were also top draw and I was thrilled when we bought him.

    Because of the aforesaid injuries, his career became very stop-start and slowly our, or should I say, my, hopes and expectations began to diminish, and matters were not helped when despite the club sticking by him thru’ his travails he then entered a long, wearing contract negotiation before signing almost at the last knocking.

    Thru’ it all my friends gave him a lot of leeway, when it began to dawn on some of us that he was pretty fast, and could score the occasional super goal.

    What he could not do, and still cannot do, is jig and twist and dazzle down the wing and create chances for others, no, for Theo it is the sprint into a space and either mis-control the ball or run headlong into a defender.

    That comment is a snapshot, of course, and I recognise that it is not entirely fair, because in flashes he has offered much more, on an occasional basis.

    For me, Theo has never really realised his ‘potential’ and much tho I would like him to, and I am prepared to give him a chance on his return from the latest extended injury, but in my heart I compare him to a fantastic, naturally talented player like Diaby who, thru no fault of his own, is being hounded out of the club by many, and wonder why, contrarily, we extend so much support and tolerance to Theo.

    I wish Theo well, and if he succeeds the club succeeds, but I have my doubts as you can tell, and if the club decided to let both Diaby and Walcott go in the summer, I would understand the reason for them doing so.

    Finally, from what I can see, I like Theo as a person, as does Arsene who also rates him highly as a player – so I believe he will stay at the club, and let’s face it, Arsene Wenger is a far better judge than me. 🙂 As are so many other people, whom I respect. 🙂

  4. kelsey says:

    Morning all and thanks again Raddy for this post.

    I am most probably in the minority yet again but Theo will be 26 in March and has been beset with all sorts of injuries throughout his career,but to me he is the “nearly man” a bit too nice a character.

    He has bulked up and had a reasonable scoring record as the seasons progressed from being the 16 year old at the World Cup who was allocated the job of getting refreshments for the squad.

    Speedy, for sure, tackling is not his forte, neither is heading but he has a shot more often placed, rather than smashed, but is he an automatic choice when fit or a very expensive bench warmer.

    He wouldn’t be in my starting eleven, sorry..

  5. RA says:

    And as to ‘is he worth his wages’………..are any of today’s professional players, or other sports people and film stars worth their astronomical wages?

    Yes and no, I suppose.

    Yes, if you are a sportsman or sportswoman, and no, if you are paying too much to watch them frolic! 🙂

  6. LB says:

    Thanks BR

    We haven’t had a good Theo debate in a while. I agree with pretty much all that Kelsey has just said and the reasons he gives.

  7. LB says:

    The only thing I would add is that I would like Theo to be given one more chance; he was playing very well before he got his last injury. I expect to see him start this weekend. Should be interesting.

  8. RC78 says:

    Honestly – he is worth his wages when he is fit…He is top 3 rw in the EPL and the EPL has tons of cracking offensive players…

  9. Shard says:

    Nice one BR.

    I don’t think any of his really know. We all recognise what Theo brings to the team, and also what he lacks. When playing at his best, his strengths far outweigh his weaknesses and he is a valuable member of the squad, and even first team. The question though is can he perform at a consistently high level?

    The truth is, I don’t know if he can. Last time around, he held a very strong hand in contract negotiations since we were in the middle of an exodus that was approaching crisis levels. He was our ‘star’ at the time. That strong hand was reflected in the amount of time it took to get a deal, the fact that Wenger seemed to agree to his demand to play as striker, and of course the money we are paying him. Also, I think both sides reached a compromise to re-assess the deal in a short time, since this was not a long term extension, but merely 30 months. (I think)

    He’s now, not as important to us as he was, since we’ve replaced his skill set with Alexis and the Ox, and also have Gnabry coming through. He’s also spent the last year out injured, making it difficult for him to make too many demands.

    From his point of view, firstly, I respect him for not forcing through a move, because no matter what he’s earning now, I believe he could have earned more elsewhere. I also believe that he genuinely enjoys being here, and that leaving wouldn’t be the first thing in his mind. However, he might see it as his last opportunity to move elsewhere and get a pay rise. He is now almost 26, and his speed, his most potent weapon, won’t last for him to wait for his next contract.

    I say this with a heavy heart and against all my wishes, but maybe it is best for both parties if they go their separate ways.

  10. Well, having consumed the toast and coffee I’m now ready with my thoughts on BR’s exceptional post.

    Walcott is all about pace. Without Theo in the side we don’t have the ability to counter-attack with the kind of pace that rips defences apart.

    Think how much better it would be if the likes of Alexis, Ozil and Cazorla had a moving target for their passes rather than the statuesque Giroud. The Theo option would allow them to play passes behind defenders for him to run onto.

    I don’t think Theo will necessarily be an automatic first choice starter, but then in these days of squad rotation very few players are in that category, but he can be invaluable in the right circumstances.

    It’s widely accepted that a fully fit Theo would walk into the England squad and would be one of the first names on the team-sheet.

    The elephant in the room, however, is fitness. He’s had more than his share of long term injuries, the temptation, and often the necessity, has been there to rush him back before he has been entirely ready. With the slow but steady reduction in the number of players out through injury that urgency has been eased and he has the chance to test his fitness, starting against Brighton at the weekend.

    Theo Walcott seems to be a model professional sportsman. He never gives less than 100% on the pitch, he’s articulate, presentable and leads, as far as we know, a clean life.

    As far as I’m concerned, BR, for his character, his personality and more importantly, his pace he’s well worth his wages.

  11. Rasp says:

    Since this topic has divided opinion, I’ve added a poll. Please go to the top of the page and vote so we can judge ‘popular opinion’

  12. 60% Yes. The ayes have it! The ayes have it!

  13. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all,
    Raddy you must be reading my mind, time and time again i mull our Theo’s worth to the team, Yes i agree he has moments of shear magic, i love the pace he has shown, and yes he does have a likeable personality, but like you i mull over, is that enough to be a part of this team.

    He upset me a bit by saying how much he felt he was worth, wages wise, and i felt had he not got the wages he wanted, i felt he would have gone to a club that would have paid. At the time i would have been ready to have let him go. Injury has followed this young man for many seasons, but although i like his pace, and i must say some of his goals, i feel he rates himself higher than i do.

    Theo is a forward, i call him a winger but of course Theo see’s himself more of a central player. Theo strikes me as a bit of a lightweight, imagine a centre forward who doesn’t challenge in the air, a player who relies more on speed than actually getting stuck in. Although he has been injured for a season i find it hard to remember him making a challenge, he never seemed to do much when we were under pressure in defence, and although he seems to move up and down the pitch very seldom is he involved in the graft side of the game, a Sanchez he is not.

    Theo has been written about and many have said he is a must play player, personally i don’t feel that he has been missed for the season he has been out, when i think of what he gives us i feel others have done more.

    Even when Theo was at his best, i feel that Jenkinson and Sagna did most of the work down the flanks, i feel that facing a tough defender, Theo was quick to change wings and put some one else in the fire-ring line.

    Theo on a hundred grand a week, with his feet up for a season and Young Jenko fighting his way with West Ham trying to prove that he can do a job for us on perhaps half of what Theo gets. Different positions yes, but for graft i would have Jenko back in a heartbeat.

    We can always do with back up players, as we all know we can never have enough, but players who are fit and always ready when called on I feel Theo is a luxury we need to let go and secure players who do more for the team.

  14. RC78 says:

    Quick update – Paulista may not be given the visa to join us as he has never played for Brazil…Other update – he is more of a Koscielny than a “Kompany/Terry/Cahill” and he can play RB, CB and LB.

  15. stevepalmer1 says:

    In all fairness, i feel Arsenal need to toughen up, Players like Theo And Diaby need to be moved on. Theo it has to be said has a sell on value where Diaby would only save us wages, but if we are to ever be a force in world football, we need players who are robust and play most of the season.

  16. RC78 says:

    Sergio Ramos will be available this summer…Ramos – Koscielny would be phenomenal…

  17. kelsey says:

    I have noticed that when Theo represents England he more often than not gets frozen out of the game, especially if Rooney is playing, and one wonders why he is picked as surely his pace down the right flank is invaluable if only to set up chances for others.

    RC78,

    This Paulista proposed transfer is bizarre.You are right in what you say but the work permit is a stumbling block as I read it, unless AW knows something we don’t and the rules are changing. Campbell maybe used as part of a proposed deal.

  18. RC78 says:

    SP1 – 100% with you except I would keep Walcott 🙂

    We need robust players in the team though for sure…

  19. RC78 says:

    It would suck to see JC leave on loan given the fact that we have lost Poldi and Sanogo…

  20. RC78, If we value him at more than £10 million he will be exempt from the requirement to have played in international matches.

  21. GunnerN5 says:

    More on injured players .

    Arsene Wenger has delivered a gloomy prognosis on the fitness of Abou Diaby, who now appears increasingly likely to have played his last game for Arsenal.

    Asked this morning how the France midfielder was progressing in his latest rehabilitation, Wenger said: “At the moment he is not in a position where he will be able to play soon because he is not on the field at all.”

    Diaby has played only 16 league games during the past four seasons amid a whole catalogue of different injuries and Wenger sounded downbeat today about his chances of returning in the foreseeable future. Diaby is out of contract this summer and, asked about the situation, Wenger said: “I will have a decision to make about his contract.”

    Wenger had sounded more optimistic about the situation earlier in the season and has always said that he would like to keep Diaby if he can prove his fitness. “Diaby hasn’t a mental problem but a problem of injury,” said Wenger. “He is a player for whom I have great respect. Whenever he returns, he is injured and he goes from zero. He was destroyed by a bad tackle.

    “The football player needs mobility of his ankle. When your ankle mobility is restricted, you compensate with something else. He suffered from a very bad tackle in Sunderland six or seven years ago. He was the victim of a tackle that was never punished. It has restricted the mobility of his ankle. If he comes back, I will keep him. I always believed in him. In football, the most important thing is health.”

    Wenger also confirmed that Mesut Ozil is likely to make his first start against Brighton in the FA Cup on Sunday following his ligament surgery but that Danny Welbeck will be out for at least two more games with his thigh injury.

    There are also doubts for Sunday over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) and Hector Bellerin (ankle) but Serge Gnabry is back in training.

    Bielik will not be considered for another three weeks while he gains full fitness after arriving during what is currently the mid-season winter break in Poland.

  22. GunnerN5 says:

    Wenger – We will pay the right price

    Arsène Wenger insists he is ready to strengthen his squad with the right players “no matter what the price”.

    The Arsenal manager has confirmed that talks are ongoing with Villarreal over the potential signing of defender Gabriel Paulista.

    The Brazilian centre-back is yet to play for his national team so does not fit the minimum criteria for a work permit, but Wenger says the club will try to get the deal done this month.

    We are ready to pay the price we think is right for a good player, no matter what the price is

    “We are talking at the moment. Can we find an agreement or not? I don’t know. We are slowly progressing but there’s a chance,” the manager said.

    “We are ready to pay the price we think is right for a good player, no matter what the price is. If we think it’s the right price we will pay.

    “[The deal is] 50-50 at this moment. We respect the rules in England – when you buy a player who does not fulfil the criteria and needs a work permit, you go in front of a commission and they tell you yes or no. We will accept that.”

    Work permit rules are due to change this summer, with players costing more than £10 million not requiring a work permit and Wenger admits it could have a bearing on the deal for Paulista.

    “First of all I don’t really understand the logic of this rule,” he said. “[I don’t understand] the logic that the availability of the work permit is linked exactly with the amount of money you spend. It should be linked with the quality of the players only.

    “Secondly we want the player. If a player we want needs a work permit then we’ll [do] it now because we will not necessarily want to do it in the summer. We are short at the moment so no matter what the rules are, we have to do it now.”

    Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

  23. Have a look at Jeremy Wilson’s column in this mornin’s Telegraph.

  24. GunnerN5 says:

    Raddy, yet another fine article.

    In my view Walcott has never achieved his potential and given the stiff competition he now faces to get back in the starting eleven I doubt that he ever will. BUT if he does force his way back in then it will to his credit and Arsenal’s benefit.

    Like most of us I feel for him as his injuries have been cruel to him and robbed us fans of a potential super star.

  25. Shard says:

    kelsey

    Arseblog today said that from next season any signings over 10m pounds will get an automatic work permit. Maybe we can get an exception now based on that.

  26. RA says:

    To save you the effort, I copied for you the article the Norfolkian mentioned.

    —– ‘Arsene Wenger has delivered a gloomy prognosis on the fitness of Abou Diaby, who now appears increasingly likely to have played his last game for Arsenal.

    Asked this morning how the France midfielder was progressing in his latest rehabilitation, Wenger said: “At the moment he is not in a position where he will be able to play soon because he is not on the field at all.”

    Diaby has played only 16 league games during the past four seasons amid a whole catalogue of different injuries and Wenger sounded downbeat today about his chances of returning in the foreseeable future. Diaby is out of contract this summer and, asked about the situation, Wenger said: “I will have a decision to make about his contract.”

    Wenger had sounded more optimistic about the situation earlier in the season and has always said that he would like to keep Diaby if he can prove his fitness. “Diaby hasn’t a mental problem but a problem of injury,” said Wenger. “He is a player for whom I have great respect. Whenever he returns, he is injured and he goes from zero. He was destroyed by a bad tackle.

    “The football player needs mobility of his ankle. When your ankle mobility is restricted, you compensate with something else. He suffered from a very bad tackle in Sunderland six or seven years ago. He was the victim of a tackle that was never punished. It has restricted the mobility of his ankle. If he comes back, I will keep him. I always believed in him. In football, the most important thing is health.”

    Who is Arsenal transfer target Gabriel Paulista? 21 Jan 2015
    Wenger also confirmed that Mesut Ozil is likely to make his first start against Brighton in the FA Cup on Sunday following his ligament surgery but that Danny Welbeck will be out for at least two more games with his thigh injury.

    There are also doubts for Sunday over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) and Hector Bellerin (ankle) but Serge Gnabry is back in training.

    Bielik will not be considered for another three weeks while he gains full fitness after arriving during what is currently the mid-season winter break in Poland.

    How’s that for service? 🙂

  27. The Noes and the Undecided are neck and neck on 21.43% both are gaining, but on 57.14% the Ayes have it!

  28. Shard says:

    Oh and it seems the guy is called Gabriel. Paulista just refers to where he’s from (Sao Paulo)

  29. Excellent RA, but it’s not the article I was talking about. The one I mentioned was in relation to the Paulista transfer and the work permit issue.

    Nice try. 😀

  30. sighs deeply says:

    let us not forget he was the most “clinical finisher” last season when he was healthy. amazing % in front of goal so if we get him fit, yes…well worth it.

  31. Here’s the gist of it.

    Arsenal are locked in negotiations with Villarreal over a fee for Gabriel Paulista, although any deal below £10 million would almost certainly have to be concluded this month because of proposed new work-permit regulations.

    With Villarreal demanding that a £15.25 million release clause is met, Arsenal may well still have to go beyond their initial suggestion of £6 million up front rising to around £10 million to get the deal done.

    Yet the £10 million threshold may become significant as, under new Football Association proposals that could take affect this summer, any new player would receive a work permit at that price or above.

    As things stands now, work permits are only given automatically to players without a European Union passport if they are an international from a country ranked in Fifa’s top 70 and have played 75 per cent of their country’s matches in the past two years. Beyond that, however, there is an appeals process run by the FA on behalf of the Home Office that makes a subjective judgment on the quality of a prospective signing.

    Arsenal believe that there would be a strong immediate case for Paulista, 24, even though he has never represented Brazil. They could point to how West Bromwich Albion signed Brown Ideye from Dynamo Kiev for £10 million and succeeding in gaining a work permit despite his absence from Nigeria’s World Cup squad.

    Last week, Andrej Kramaric was allowed to sign for Leicester City for £9.5 million despite having made only four appearances for Croatia.

    Although Paulista has no international experience, Arsenal could argue that playing regularly for a team in the top six of La Liga offers more guarantee of quality than being relatively peripheral in the Croatia or Nigeria national teams.

    The rather vague wording of the current FA regulations is that the appeals panel has to consider if “the player is of the highest calibre” and “able to contribute significantly to the development of the game at the top level in England”. The success rate at appeal is 79 per cent and Greg Dyke, the FA chairman, wants to tighten regulations and ensure they are no longer open to interpretation.

    His concern is that the development of young English talent is being stifled by imports who are not of genuinely world-class quality. Dyke would like to scrap the appeals panels completely and permit only players who have played 30 per cent of international matches in the past two years for a nation in Fifa’s top 50. Players costing at least £10 million would be exempt.

  32. chas says:

    I voted ‘no’ but only on the premise that none of them are worth their ridiculous wages.

    When he signed last time (eventually), I was surprised it was only for 3.5 years as the last year doesn’t really count as the club is forced to sell if the player won’t sign a new one (signed in Jan 2013 with contract to expire June 2016).

    I think he should give us another year at his current wages since he missed a whole year with injury. 🙂

    As for his worth to the team, I’m finding it hard to remember as it seems so long ago. He was definitely in our first choice XI when we started the season so well in 13/14. I’ve no idea if he is now, depends on his form I suppose.

  33. I suppose the question is, how much does Wenger rate the player and is he worth in excess of £10 million?

  34. RA says:

    NG,

    Sorry about selecting the wrong Wilson article, I am usually pretty good at mind reading but, in your case…………. 🙂

  35. RA says:

    Chas, @ 1:14

    Very much what I think – and how I voted – and why! 🙂

  36. RA, it’s pretty difficult to read a blank page. 😀

  37. RA says:

    NG,

    Doesn’t really matter what AW values Gabriel at as the £10m rule does not come into effect until the summer.

    The thing Wenger will rely on is that a senior politician made positive noises last year to the effect that the Home Office has to have a good reason to reject a player’s application for a visa.

    Anyway, Villa are asking for £15.8m and apparently we are offering an Arsene.

    Oh, an ‘Arsene offer’ is about £10m less than that!! 🙂

  38. RA says:

    NG,

    No, no —- I would not say a blank page — just a bit like a Norfolk coastal haar, or fret! 🙂

    Like mine – some would say!!

  39. LB says:

    Wenger has been very candid in his recent interviews about transfers.

    “The Arsenal manager has confirmed that talks are ongoing with Villarreal over the potential signing of defender Gabriel Paulista.

    “We are talking at the moment. Can we find an agreement or not? I don’t know. We are slowly progressing but there’s a chance,”

    What happened to I never talk about transfers?

    I am not complaining the info the better.

  40. RA says:

    Rasp,

    £25m? Either you — or anyone making such an offer, or both, are woody woodpeckers! 🙂 ooo-ahh-a-ahhh.

  41. Rasp says:

    Redders, I’m basing my valuation on Theo’s total worth = merchandising etc. Like I said, I’d bet pool would go to £25m for Theo if they lost Sterling. City would also pay that if they needed to up their quota of home grown.

  42. Rasp says:

    I promise you I hadn’t researched this site before I made my valuation …. but it appears I was pretty close if you give this any credence ….

    http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/schnellsuche/ergebnis/schnellsuche?query=theo+walcott&x=0&y=0

  43. The Cockie Monster says:

    Fcuk Theo !….what about a poll on whether I`m worth my massive minimum wage as a white van driver !…………you bastards !……..that`s because being psychic, I know how you will vote !. hahaha

  44. chas says:

    Shhhh, keep the secret.

  45. Rasp says:

    This may be of interest to LB, Ramsey is valued at £21m and Wilshere at £26m

    http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/schnellsuche/ergebnis/schnellsuche?query=jack+wilshere&x=0&y=0

  46. stevepalmer1 says:

    While the window is open, i wonder if any of you have thought about the possibility of a swap between Karl Jenkinson and Winstone Reid. I only bring this up as it seems strange that Jenks has been loaned out, but has also been replaced by Debuchey and Chambers, with Belerin also now shining, i now see no way back for Jenks.

    Now personally i like Jenks but i know Wenger made inquireries into the availability of Reid, could a deal be on the cards. or would we want one

  47. chas says:

    Rasp
    I think you’re undermining their valuation of Theo at 25 mil. 🙂

  48. chas says:

    If only Jenks had the prospect of providing decent cover at centre back as well. He certainly has the height.

  49. Jeremy says:

    Whatever he is being paid now is linked to how close he was to leaving for free. He’s also been consistently improving every year and was on good form before he was injured. The thought of him playing with in a team with Ozil and Alexis is pretty exciting and he brings something unique to the team. Imagine Alexis and Welbecks work rate rubbing off on him. I’m pretty excited to see him back. He’s worth it!

  50. LB says:

    Wilshire 26 mil

    Ramsey 21 mil

    Sounds like they know what they are talking about.

    Notttttt

  51. RA says:

    Hope you are right, Jeremy.

    Having had an enforced year off, Theo should come back with all guns blazing when he gets back to match fitness. 🙂

  52. LB says:

    I hear Wilshere is back in training; he will probably get his usual preferential treatment and come straight back into the team which will mean that Santi goes back out to the wing.

    Bit like the early part of the season.

    I seemed to be the only one bothered.

    Anyone else starting to see what I was on about now?

    Shall we have the Santi dance again or more pics of Wilshere writhing on the ground having held onto the ball for too long yet again.

    26 mil..hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  53. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thank you Raddy

    Theo is an excellent player, for what he does world class in fact.

    People go on about his speed, what about his runs off the ball? You would be hard pushed to find a player in world football with the excellence of those movements.

    If Theo can stay fit, he is probably the only guy in the league who could bag 20 goals a season playing wide right and when you add in the assists, hes a great asset.

    The downside is he can do very little else. He needs to improve his physical strength as well as his tactical defensive awareness. If he can incorporate that into his game, we will have an all round player who can mix it with the best in world football.

    You dont spend near on ten years nurturing such a talent to throw it all away when hes just ripening

  54. The Cockie Monster says:

    I have always liked Wilshere , but have to agree with LB, shock horror !!. I`m also of the opinion that he holds onto the ball too long and one of his recent long lay offs was due to him having about 10mins to lay the ball off to one of our players who was screaming for it and after snapping at Wilshere`s ankles, the opposition finally got his reward when Jack tried to play the ball to the player who was texting him for it for 10 mins !.

  55. LB says:

    Ahh, there is always the exception that proves the rule.

  56. chas says:

    Soz, LB, I wasn’t implying you were wrong.
    Just pointing out that he doesn’t only hold on to the ball too long and then writhe on the floor. 🙂

    Does anyone think there is a new ruthless Wenger who picks the team on merit?
    Coquelin over Flamini
    Ospina over Szczesny
    Monreal over Gibbs
    Cazorla over Ozil

    Maybe Jack’ll have to earn his place? 🙂

  57. jnyc says:

    Good questions Raddy, i want to re sign him and think hes wort.the wages. Not for any sentimental reasons. I think his production for the position is better than almost anyones, at least in the past few seasons.
    And im a former detractor….
    He has a good quick accuraye shot hes developed.
    He knows how to time runs. And his 2 0 gesture is legendary.. also have been waiting almost 2 seasons to see how it goes between theo and ozil.
    I think it will be great.

  58. RC78 says:

    I think that if we get Paulista and add a robust DM (even on loan!), we will be contending for the 4th place…I think the Top 3 is out of reach and I think the Top 4 is going to be difficult but with the right additions, we will make it as I am hoping that Man Utd will not be as lucky as they have been, Southampton will falter without Schnederlin or Wanyama, Tottenham and Liverpool will be inconsitent…I think that our biggest threats are actually Totty and Liverpool…for top 4 finish. Also key players will be back for us with Debuchy, Arteta, Wilshere, Ozil and Wellbeck…

  59. The way things are shaping up, there’s no need to rush Wilshire, or any player returning from injury, back into the side.

    I’d like to see the formation, tactics and players, we used against City, tried out again against Villa and the Spuds, it won’t happen against Brighton as some players will be rested.

    At the moment I can’t see where Wilshire has a chance of fitting in. Perhaps we should be asking the question Is Jack worth his wages?

    61.54%, The Ayes still have it!

  60. jnyc says:

    Rc78. I think to say 3rd or even second out of reach is mighty pessemistic!
    I know i cant assume even 4th, because of tough competition, and i agree that spuds are a threat, as theyve made it close before.,
    But with ramsey and ozil coming back, and the emergence of coquelin and bellerin, i feel like we can actually frighten other teams,, and not just because we beat city, because we always play them tight except for one last season.

    I think our best is yet to come this season, but perhaps now im being too optimistic?
    No doubt though, we’re gonna do great in champions league, and next season is ours.

  61. Eddie says:

    a terrific post, thank you Raddy.

    I am not very materialistic and therefore would pay Theo his wages regardless what they are. But if money was an issue than I would say no, he is not worth an increase. He is getting to the age that a move to Spain would benefit his career and wrap it up nicely. Perhaps Atletico Madrid will come knocking? We could then use the money wisely to add to other positions – Theo’s place is now spoken for.

    LB – Wenger is not going to bench Santi over Wilshere, that’s a crazy suggestion!!

  62. Eddie says:

    never mind Paulista, we are chasing Loic Perrin, a gorgeous 29years old CB and a captain!! yes please

  63. chas says:

  64. chas says:

    Google translation of the Marca article……….

    The ‘Oooh Santi Cazooorla !’ has become, with permission from Alexis, in the song’s repeated by Arsenal fans. The Spaniard completed in the win against City (0-2) which for many is their best-for stage and party entity rival since landfall in the Emirates in 2012. The former Málaga initialed with a goal and an assist gunner’s first win at home against a member of the Top 4 since winning 3-5 at Chelsea in October 2011. “If you tell me that Arsenal will win 0-2 with Cazorla as a central midfielder, I do not think so” said Jamie Redknapp, former Liverpool.
    Wenger has relocated him as ‘box to box’
    Cazorla has undergone a similar metamorphosis from Isco. It has delayed its position from inside -Coquelin playmaker to escort him as defensively pivot to become a todocampista: press, steals, begins the rally, driving, dribbles, assists and scores. Even had the luxury of dance a running internet like wildfire after the 0-2 to give Giroud.
    Although from behind, has increased its influence in attack. 19 of Arsenal, who accumulated 21 games without scoring, has five goals and three assists in nine games. “This position I like. I have more space and I have more chances to score goals or assist. I hope to maintain this level the rest of the season,” said the Spaniard.
    Falling Arteta -habitual penaltis- launcher has gained statistics Cazorla, who has scored four goals from 11 meters.
    Henry yields to the ‘magician gunner’
    Cazorla garnered praise from Thierry Henry in his debut as a commentator for Sky Sports:!.. “Which player Many people focus on Alexis, but Cazorla is the backbone of Arsenal football I like the ease that the rest were passes smiling! “party.
    “Whom I would sign for Barca? I’ll take Silva and Cazorla”
    Arsène Wenger not skimp on compliments:?… “Cazorla has been amazing lately, but before the City was more influential even if it is it’s fantastic because he knows how to get out of pressure Santi is a good example for younger demonstrates how important is to have an ambidextrous player. I think for a modern midfielder is a vital quality “.
    19 Arsenal also grabbed the covers of The Independent (“Cazorla disarms the City”), Metro (“Cruise Santi”) and Daily Express (“Cazorla stuns the City”).
    The praises of Cazorla even transcend borders. A Xavi Hernandez love to share midfield with Santi. “Who would sign for Barca? Lots Spanish talent around the world, but I’ll Cazorla and Silva”.
    It has supplied to note Özil
    Last season was not too good for Cazorla, which closed the year with four goals and eight assists. The arrival of Özil and untimely ankle injury detracted prominence in the early going.
    Now, however, is Özil who is in the shadow of Cazorla. The ballot is to be accommodated Wenger German, having recovered from the partially torn lateral ligament in his left knee that has kept him three months in dry dock. Paul Mariner, former Arsenal is clear on the piece should not touch the Alsatian coach 😕 “Santi is in a fantastic run of form. There is no reason that Santi should give way to Özil. Absolutely none.”
    He approaches the 11 goals and 11 assists in 2011-12
    Cazorla is leaving its mark on the islands. In 126 games for Arsenal has 25 goals and 28 assists. Only Rooney has distributed more assists than Cazorla (23) in this period. This season (five goals and four assists) is approaching 11 goals and 11 assists he did in his first year in the Premier.
    Cazorla also played a crucial role to cut the nine-year drought for the Gunners. A goal from Spanish international began the comeback in the final of the FA? Cup against Hull City (3-2) and this course opened the scoring before the City (3-0) in the English Super Cup.

  65. RA says:

    Umm, Chas, I think Google took a bunch of words and threw them up in the air – then delivered them to you.

    — “Now, however, is Özil who is in the shadow of Cazorla. The ballot is to be accommodated Wenger German, having recovered from the partially torn lateral ligament in his left knee that has kept him three months in dry dock. Paul Mariner, former Arsenal is clear on the piece should not touch the Alsatian coach.”

    Woof. 🙂

  66. chas says:

    Haha, chas translate says Ozil shouldn’t be automatically picked over Santi by dog-trainer Wenger.
    Woof. 🙂

  67. LB says:

    I wish you could all see my smiling face when I write this stuff about Wilshire.

  68. Eddie says:

    Don’t worry LB, we can just imagine it

  69. The Cockie Monster says:

    Rasp said he likes to anagram a new players name !. Well, he`s not the only one !.

    Gabriel Paulista ( if we get him ! )

    It`s up large labia !. 😆

  70. Big Raddy says:

    How did my post about the value of Theo to the team turn into the value of Wilshire?

    I know who to blame ……

  71. The Cockie Monster says:

    I don’t like to grass, Rads, but it was LB !………do some old Viking stuff !. hahaha

  72. Eddie says:

    !!!!!!!!!! i have just read that Paulista is a swap for Nacho !!!!!!!!!!!! that can’t be true

  73. Big Raddy says:

    No Eddie it can’t be true. Nacho has been very good with a run in the team. It shows how important it is to play regularly.

    That said I prefer Gibbs at LB

  74. chas says:

  75. LB says:

    I didn’t realise that the Roman Empire stretched as far as Argentina.

    You learn something new every day.

  76. arnie says:

    Nice one, Raddy. 🙂 Interesting scenario indeed. If I feel really really sad for Diaby, the feeling is a bit similar with Theo.

    Erikson took Theo to the WC when he was just a baby. Perhaps prematurely. Since then the curse has struck. Very very sad because Theo is a fantastic talent.

    The one image that lingers in my mind is the 2-0 to the Arsenal sign to Spuds supporters. 😆 What a Gooner?

    However, I do not have strong views as to whether he should be flogged in the transfer market. If the price is right, and he is surplus to requirement, why not? If we could let Henry and Vieira go, why the heck not?

    But will he be back as a regular? I sort of doubt it. But just maybe. And hence, given that we are not exactly cash-strapped, why not keep him on the books. At the very least, I guess Theo is a good influence in practise and in the dressing room. 🙂

  77. arnie says:

    I notice that votes are about half of the responses. That is certainly bucking the AA trend. Dont know what it means though.

  78. arnie says:

    Redders, Micky, Terry, et al. Very happy that I am in your thoughts even if my presence on AA has been minimal. 😦 I am trying to be around but it is pretty difficult at the moment. By the time I get free, it is late night in the UK. 😦

  79. arnie says:

    just over a week to go. HWSA prim and proper yet? 😛

  80. arnie says:

    😛

  81. arnie says:

    the cricket discussion with Redders the other day made me feel a bit nostalgic. old age, I presume, good old days and all that … 😛

  82. arnie says:

    I have played in this ground. Before Christ. 😛

  83. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Nice day for a signing

  84. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Off piste, vulgar, inconsiderate, smutty even, but I must talk football briefly.

    Raddy. Thank you.
    The answer lies in the goal scoring chart above. Remove Sanchez, and you see why we need Theo. He can score goals, and he can also pass for others to score 🙂

  85. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ahh Big.

    True. Problem is a Paulista isn’t very exciting is it really?

  86. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Anyway Daddy, what the hell are you doing up at this ungodly hour, for the moon is neither full nor new?

  87. Big Raddy says:

    Didit. I am such an ex-pat that I get up to watch England play cricket, and on that front it started well and is going tit’s up

  88. Big Raddy says:

    As you say – a Brazilian CB who at 25 has yet to play for his country is less than thrilling.

    It must be because he is cheap. Why not buy a PL CB who doesn’t need to acclimatise? OK they cost more but there are benefits.

  89. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Or forget about a dull defender altogether and buy a really exciting and very expensive striker?

    No brainer for me

  90. chas says:

    Per isn’t the slowest!
    Who do you think it might be? Szcz?

  91. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    Girooo?

  92. Good morning les filles 🙂

    Not been about to blog for a couple of days, have we bought anyone yet? Micky, Paulista is a good buy if we can get him and we can get him a work permit.

  93. MickyDidIt89 says:

    He is ever present in a fourth placed Villarreal side, so must be pretty good, but, do we really need a defender?

    I mean, defenders are for doomers 🙂

  94. Statistically Micky, a team only needs a clean sheet and one goal to win a match…. so defenders ain’t for doomers, build from the defence forward, you know it makes sense. Expensive strikers are for no brainers 🙂

  95. chas says:

    Apparently there was a Wenger Q&A in the Diamond Club last night.
    A few snippets in here if you scan down.

    https://twitter.com/DarrenArsenal1

  96. chas says:

    Giroud is possible definitely.
    ‘A canoe attached to each foot trying to run upstream’

  97. Big Raddy says:

    More proof that cats are pathetic

  98. Big Raddy says:

    AW said that he would have had to sell an MF to sign Cesc and had just 48 hours to decide!!

    It would have taken me two seconds.

  99. Gööner In Exile says:

    This is the first ridiculous January I’ve had so am missing too many good debates.

    Theo ,…..has shown signs of being a finisher, and signs of having a good touch and signs of being able to take a man on with a bit of skill, and signs of being able to pick out an assist.

    Unfortunately at 26 we need more than signs, he needs to hit the ground running on his full return to the side, and if he can’t? Well I’ll be promoting the likes of Ox and Gnabry to see if their potential can develop, because for me their potential now is better than Theo’s was at similar ages, and if he isn’t going to step up and become a consistent contributor then I’d cash in.

  100. Eddie says:

    oh dear plastic money and Radja Nainggolan, all bad news!
    Can you burn plastic money? It will effect the language!
    And I will never learn how to pronounce Nainggolan

  101. Shard says:

    Good morning

    How do you put gifs in the comments chas?

    That twitter link to the Q&A is interesting. Thanks.

    Raddy? You? The Hippie King, denouncing a cute little kitten as ‘pathetic’? 😮

  102. RA says:

    G’Morning fellas, 🙂

    I have seen people do that sort of thing too, when within 5 feet of a teeny weeny spider — or wasp!! 🙂

  103. Eddie says:

    micky – there is a proposal to put John Lenon on the new £15 plastic note, a fitting tribute

  104. Shard says:

    Why does the surprise or ‘eek’ emoticon look like I’m giving Raddy a kiss?

    Sorry Terry. It’s the hippie in me.

  105. Eddie says:

    kitten is gorgeous 🙂 RA – Peaches’ daughter is one of those people 🙂

  106. Shard says:

    Eddie

    I have recently been introduced to the word ‘Kurwa’ and its versatile usage. I think it is among my favourite words now because Poles seem to use it all the time and it sounds funny 🙂

  107. Gööner In Exile says:

    Btw for me injury record doesn’t come into it, injured for England we get compensated, injured whilst playing for us, we owe him.

    What’s important is what he returns on the pitch, it needs to be consistent and special.

    I even wonder about his marketability, it’s not like he is adorning every Nike/Adidas/Puma promo or has a range in the club shop that sells just because his name is on it. Any marketability is as much to do with who he plays for than himself alone.

  108. Eddie says:

    oh no Shard, don’t use it!!!! it is horrible!! there are much nicer polish swear words 🙂

  109. chas says:

    Shard
    Just copy the link and paste here.
    The link address must end with .gif

    e.g.

    https:// 38.media.tumblr.com/b5cb56a3e5d3057e6050ce5458cb9d1e/tumblr_n184eazKJF1sp8x1co1_250.gif

    (I’ve inserted a space between // and 38)

  110. Oh dear… Kurwa, just got it translated. Not good Shard, even if it sounds funny

  111. chas says:

    GIE
    We don’t get compensated for not winning the league last year, though!
    And he’s only played 1.5 years of a 3.5 year contract before we have to go through tedious protracted contact negotiations again.

  112. Shard says:

    Thanks chas

    Haha. I just like the way it sounds Eddie. But I’d be happy to learn more swear words 🙂

    nb. You don’t fool me. You’re going to be kurwaing your way around France now.

  113. Eddie says:

    something funny – my friend’s parked car was hit at night. Since the accident he had 3 phone calls asking if anybody was injured. He keeps on saying that he wasn’t even in the car, but they still ask ‘Are you sure you are ok?’ 🙂

  114. This is a good one Shard, and funny. But it’s not aimed at you:

    “Jebiesz jeze” 🙂

  115. Shard says:

    nb right now

  116. Eddie says:

    brilliant vids 🙂 all 4 from chas’ vid will be gone this summer.

    nb – it is pronounced koorva with accent on the first syllable. No shard, I seldom swear in polish, too meaningful. ‘Syema’ is a nice word

  117. Shard says:

    nb, that’s funny but doesn’t roll off the tongue easy enough 🙂

    Ok Eddie. I’ll be nice. Syema?

  118. Shard says:

    Ok last gif.

    How I wish someone would do this to Mike Dean or Anthony Taylor.

  119. I bet this would simply roll off Eddies tongue:

    “Jeśli nie przestać używać tych strasznych słów, będę cię uderzył z moim knuckle duster” 🙂

  120. chas says:

    Can you name the 3 Arsenal players in this photo?
    (click on the photo to see it larger)

  121. Eddie says:

    Nb- how many times do I have tell you that they are diamond rings, not knuckle dusters?

  122. Shard says:

    chas

    I would have done better with rock stars 🙂

  123. chas says:

    You know what you know.

  124. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Rix, Allinson, & Williams, or

    Nicholas, Richardson & Mcdermot

  125. chas says:

    You know what you know. 🙂

  126. chas says:

    Terry
    You have all three but not in the same attempt. 🙂

  127. Shard wasn’t born when that photo was taken…. 🙂

  128. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Rix Richardson & Williams?

  129. Must have been a period when I wasn’t taking much notice of the Arsenal, Graham Rix is the only name I recognise 🙂

  130. chas says:

    He wasn’t born when Grace Slick was playing for Jefferson Airplane.

  131. RA says:

    Why has Giro got a peasant in his shorts?

  132. Big Raddy says:

    Definitely Richardson. Probably Rix and possibly Williams

  133. chas says:

    Soixante neuf, that is a disgrace.
    You don’t remember Kevin Allinson, Neil Williams and Noel McDermott?

  134. RA says:

    Williams, Nicholas and Richardson. Gimme the £10.

  135. chas says:

    You missed out Brian Rix, RA.

  136. Chas, as much as I love the Arsenal, life takes precedence sometimes 🙂

  137. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Rubbish 69. Arsenal is life

    Ive had many sexless nights because of the Arse

  138. Chas, I’d have to google them ha ha ha

  139. RA says:

    Chas,

    Nope! I have seen pics of Graham Rix (who Brian Rix?) 🙂 and he always seems to have a perm.

    The guy with his hand on his hip in an effete pose is def Williams, and Charlie and Richardson I have seen holding hands in other photos. 🙂

  140. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Brian Rix is that bald geezer in Alien 3 Redders

  141. Redders is thinking of Kenneth Williams 🙂

  142. Big Raddy says:

    NB = Plastic fan 🙂

  143. Kenneth Williams was born in Islington 🙂

  144. Probably Raddy, 🙂

  145. RA says:

    That is helpful, Terry, except I have never seen Alien1, 2 or 3. 🙂 and the only one I know of was called Alien Ball.

  146. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    It wont hope watching it Redders. Every body is bald in that film, except Alien Ball.

  147. I must admit, cos I’m an ‘onest sort of geezer, that from 2000 till 2005, during the Wenger glory years, I didn’t really know what the Arsenal were doing. It was my first 5 years in France and I was enjoying myself 🙂

  148. RA says:

    Terry, I think Alien Ball was ginger and spoke in a high pitched voice — maybe he had a peasant in his shorts too!

  149. Confessions of a failed Gooner… could be a subject of a post ha ha ah

  150. Time for a NEW POST me thinks… you’re all thinking I’m a ‘plastic fan’ now….. 🙂

  151. Big Raddy says:

    Just a leetle joke NB.

    I went missing in the early 80’s when I moved to the Cotswolds.

  152. chas says:

    A damn good time to go missing.

  153. Big Raddy says:

    We have a ……

    New Post

  154. Eni Penny says:

    Reblogged this on A Bucket Full of Arsenal.

  155. Generally I don’t learn post on blogs, however I would like to say that
    this write-up very forced me to check out and do it!
    Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, quite great post.

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