We paid Southampton a lot of money to sign Theo when he was just 16-years-old and he has already clocked up 238 appearances for the club, despite only being 23, so the boss has rightly pointed out that Walcott owes the club for giving him a chance ahead of more experienced players, and hinted that it may have even weakened the Arsenal team in the process to help aid his development.
Wenger is quoted by the Independent as saying:
“I believe what is important to keep the young players together is that at some stage I have stood up for them,”
“‘I played you at 17, 18, 19 years of age and I know I took a gamble.’ It is easier to take a player of 25 and put him in the team. You know what you are getting.”
“If you put them in at 17 or 18, you have to stand up for them. You know you risk losing games while they are learning their job. Once you have produced them, you want to say, ‘Okay, let’s stay together and win together.’”
Wenger also claims he’s happy to pay Walcott the money he deserves, but believes that players also have a responsibility to give the club a return for the investment they have made in their careers.
“I am happy to pay Theo the money he deserves, but I feel as well that I bought him at 17 years of age and spent a lot of money on him. I am a big supporter and I believe he is happy here. He has always looked to me like he is an Arsenal man.”
“Somewhere along the line they need to give back to the club what the club has given to them. After when a guy gets to 30, you can understand it is his last contract and if he feels he wants a change, I can understand that. This is a more sensitive age, but basically, it is a reward for our policy.” Wenger is quoted as saying by the Independent.
I think the boss has a fair point here. In this day and age, too many players have no loyalty to the club and it’s all about the money. Of course players have to do whats best for them, but he’s hardly got it tough at Arsenal. He’s at a top team, playing Champions League football every year, being taught by one of the best coaches in the world, and is paid very, very well. Yes not as much as he’d get elsewhere, but if every player had that attitude the likes of Jack Wilshere wouldn’t have signed a long-term contract recently.
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There has to be some loyalty in the game. Arsenal have spent a lot of money on Theo, gave him his big break as a kid, at the expense of the team, and we’ve made him the player he is today, so he should repay the club by signing a new deal.
What do you think, does Theo owe the club? Get involved in the comments section below.