A pair of journalists have taken to Twitter with some words from Theo Walcott on his ongoing contract talks, and the results are pretty interesting. According to Leon Mann (BBC Sport) and Harry Hesp (ITV), the Arsenal attacker wants to stay at the club and claims that hangups on his deal are not due to money issues, rather differences in the concept of what his role at the club should be.
According to both, Walcott wants to play as a striker rather than a winger (as he's said in the past).
Walcott says its never been about money, is desperate to show what he can do as striker and feels he's learnt his trade as right winger #AFC— Harry Hesp (@HarryJHesp) September 24, 2012
He says he wants to be an "Arsenal legend," according to Hesp, who adds that Walcott claims he had offers to leave Arsenal over the summer, but he wanted to stay here.
I think there's a very good chance that Walcott means what he says here. He's said time and again that he would really prefer to be playing as a central striker, and this is really just more of the same. He really never seemed the type to fight over money to me, so I wouldn't be shocked if this were all true.
But there's at least a chance that this is simply posturing, and the cynic in me thinks that's more likely. It's a similar (but executed vastly better) principle to that which was behind Robin van Persie's infamous statement - try to put the blame on the other party in the negotiation, so that if you do end up leaving then it's not for money, it's for a "nobler" reason. In van Persie's case the pursuit of winning; in Walcott's, the realization of his dream of being a Premier League striker. If that's what this is, it's still silly because it won't work - basically any player who leaves is hated or at least avoided upon departure, so face-saving is really a waste of time.
I, for one, will fight off cynicism and choose to believe that this can be salvaged, and that Walcott will stay at Arsenal for a fair price. Someone has to do it eventually, right?