Since Robin van Persie fled and Alex Song left to be a full-time bench-warmer, Arsenal have made it a priority to keep their current talent on the books safe from any short-term uncertainty by signing the following players this past fall:
- Jack Wilshere
- Kieran Gibbs
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
- Aaron Ramsey
- Carl Jenkinson
And now we can add another name to that, and that's Theo Walcott. Arsenal have made it official (by the way, that photo of Arsene Wenger in that link is priceless - such a creeper, he is) and announced a little bit ago that he's signed a 3.5 year contract extension to stay at Ashburton Grove and spur the inevitable advances of numerous clubs willing to take a player of his talent and marketability aboard come this summer.
[Ed. note: The BBC is reporting that the deal is worth £100,000/wk, which is more than the 75k that the negotiations started at. This puts Theo near the top of the wage scale, which, as long as he keeps leading the team in goals and assists, should be okay with everyone.]
Let this sink in: six current first-team players have pledged their future to Arsenal instead of casting their eyes off in the direction of west London, both sides of Manchester and other various points abroad. Yes, we know about the recent history of our club when it comes to players making insidious statements in the press regarding the club's desires and ability to compete, capped with their eventual transfers. Yes, we're a fanbase that's questioned our transfer policies, our youth policies and our abilities to promote the club's long-term sustainability and competitiveness - maybe rightfully so. However, now there's concrete proof that there's a solid core of young and extremely-talented players who've bought into the club, Arsene Wenger, the Board and, most importantly, each other.
Theo Walcott was dangerous last season as he showed an ability to score, as well as a ridiculous ability to feed in passes to the beast that was van Persie. So far this season, he's elevated his game to display a player who's capable of being "The Man." He's virtually unstoppable with the ball, since he's just as much a threat to score as he is a threat to place a perfectly-weighted pass onto the feet of his teammates; he's 23, still developing as a player and scorer and he's now ours through the prime years of his career.
Now that this mini-saga is over, one that crept along since last summer, the focus will shift back to Arsene Wenger - a man who's generally known to stay quiet in the January transfer window - to see if he decides to call up his banker and engineers a move or two before the 31st. If he doesn't, my request is to remember that we look back at this transfer window, see this massive signing for what it truly is, and not declare the month a total waste.