Theo Walcott has finally extended his Arsenal contract, as reported by Arsenal’s official website. The new deal will reportedly run until 2019 and makes him one of the highest earners in the club. The 26-year-old was entering the last year of his contract but after a lot of dillydallying he has put pen on paper. Consequently, is this a sign that Arsene Wenger won’t be signing any striker in the summer?
The Englishman impressed as a striker towards the end of last season as well as the pre-season tour. However, it still isn’t clear whether he best suited in that role. Of course, he hasn’t been given enough time in that position due to an injury-hit last couple of seasons and might yet prove to be sensational as a striker, but he still remains to be an untested option.
There are no doubts over his goal scoring capabilities though, taking into account the 21 goals he scored in the 12/13 season, the last time he remained fit over a full season. He has also been played on the left wing occasionally, a position where he switched to before scoring the opener in the FA Cup final and the position where he started at in the Barclays Asia Trophy final against Everton. But that is definitely just a temporary switch as Alexis Sanchez is bound to occupy that position once he returns.
As much as we know how devastating Walcott can be on the right wing, how well he can fare playing as a striker remains to be a doubt. Also, his fellow ex-Southampton player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who never ceases to get better, is proving that he is starting XI material and might end up cementing his place on the right wing in the starting line-up.
And if not for Walcott, Arsene has other options to dwell upon like Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, and the young Chuba Akpom. After a really good last couple of seasons, Giroud seems to be reaching his peak. Strikers often reach their peak between the age 28 and 31 and that seems to be very much true in the case of the big 29-year-old Frenchman.
Though he hasn’t matched the tally of 21 goals that he scored in the season before he joined Arsenal, he has become a much better player overall, especially in the aspects that Arsenal want him to good at holding off defenders, heading, link up play, quick one-touch passing. Not to mention his killer move of the near post stride and outside of the foot finish by which he scores too often.
As for Welbeck, his goal-scoring hasn’t been particularly convincing. Comparing him with the back up strikers of other title contenders, like Loic Remy, Edin Dzeko and Javier Hernandez, the England international still has to improve a lot to reach their level.
Chuba Akpom, on the other hand, as said by Wenger, is very much in the first team plans of the upcoming season, and he seems promising, though selfish at times, especially after his hat trick in the 4-0 win against Singapore Selection. With 4 striking options in hand combined and an overloaded midfield, only time can tell if Wenger is going to buy a new striker or not.