Who loses more - Theo Walcott or Arsenal?

Walcott New Season

If Theo Walcott and Arsenal cannot agree a deal moving forward, who loses the most?

Theo Walcott's signing and route to stardom was propelled at a speed similar to his 100 metre pace, yet his possible exit from the club is dragging on and on at snail's pace.

However this morning it has emerged that there could finally be some progress in contract negotiations between club and player, with a compromise on the horizon.

Walcott is said to be willing to lower his wage demands, and Arsenal are going to promise him more opportunities to show what he can do up front. It's positive news, but why is it taking so long?

After all, don't both parties have something to lose? After his performance against Tottenham on Saturday, the general consensus of fans was 'offer him what he wants' - but Walcott too must be wary of leaving the Emirates to step into the unknown.

Here is a look at what is at stake for both parties if negotiations continue to drag and they cannot agree.

Arsenal

For Arsenal to lose Walcott would be not only an embarrassment but a real blow to the collective unity of their team. Walcott is a popular figure with his teammates, with Jack Wilshere recently pleading with the winger to stay. Arsenal paid good money to sign him, and have invested a good eight years and a substantial figure in wages in him, so to lose him for nothing next summer would be galling. 

Also at 23, Walcott is only going to get better, and Arsenal need to avoid being seen as a 'developmental' club for young stars before they enjoy their peak elsewhere, see Cesc Fabregas and Ashley Cole for previous examples.

The blame would lie with both Arsene Wenger, for failing to keep Walcott happy in the Arsenal team, and the board - for failing to give Walcott the money he wants, and as fans react, the chances are the fallout won't be pretty. Arsenal would need to spend money to replace him, and the chances are Walcott will sign for a Premier League rival, compounding their pain.

Walcott

For Walcott, staying at Arsenal is the safe option, and he should think very carefully about flying the nest. Of course he wants to win trophies, but Arsenal are building a good side, one only has to look at their midfield to see that, and at 23 he should continue to show patience. 

He need only glance at Emmanuel Adebayor, or Alexander Hleb, to see how careers can quickly go down the drain, careers which at Arsenal appeared to only be on the way up.

What makes him think he would get into the Chelsea starting line-up? Even up front, the club are likely to bring in big name signings in January, and he only need to look at another young Englishman, Daniel Sturridge - who is struggling for starts as a striker to see he will face similar frustration.

Another club he has been linked to is Liverpool, but Walcott has to accept that joining the Reds would be a step down at present, based on the fact Liverpool have not played Champions League football since 2009. If he leaves, he will effectively be playing roulette with his career, no matter how well paid he is.

Analysis: The answer in our opinion is both, which is why Arsenal and Walcott simply have to get the deal sorted out. The delay is helping nobody either, and re-signing will give supporters a big lift, as deep down nobody wants him to go. The above outlines why it is so important to both parties, and the Gunners should make this their biggest priority off the pitch right now, and today's news that a compromise is nearing is good for all Arsenal fans.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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