Theo Walcott’s unwillingness to sign a long-term deal at the Emirates suggests that his Arsenal days are numbered and it’s priced up at 3/1 that he leaves the club in the January transfer window.
Expectation surrounding his departure has heightened in recent days following the revelation that he has been omitted from the Gunners’ official 2013 calendar (though it’s 1/1 that, in an un-sensational turn of events, he features in the 2014 edition), as well as Arsene Wenger’s declaration that “unfortunately” new-deal discussions remain in deadlock.
His reluctance to pen a new contract is thought to revolve around guarantees that Wenger will use him as a striker, not on the right of a front three. It’s hard to imagine the Frenchman being happy with such ultimatums being issued, as well as being told how to best utilise his players.
It’s interesting to note that the two clubs heading the chase to secure the 23-year-old’s services are unlikely to keep such promises (if they were to make them at all). Your average cynic would suggest that this is nothing but a load of rhubarb and he’s on the lookout for the biggest pay day available.
Liverpool and Chelsea are both 5/1 to snap up Walcott when the transfer market is open for business and it’s difficult to picture the England international spearheading their attacks.
Luis Suarez has been one of, if not the, top player in the Premier League this campaign and, while Brendan Rodgers is a known admirer of Walcott’s, he would not be shoving the Uruguayan out to the wing to make room for anyone, unless he could get his hands on Lionel Messi.
As far as any potential switch to Chelsea is concerned, it remains to be seen whether they will be willing to invest in new players in January given the temporary nature of Benitez’s contract.
At 33/1, QPR represent the only club in the betting that Walcott could actually expect to play as a centre forward for, while still earning the mega-bucks he feels he warrants.
It’s hard to determine whether agreeing to this move for the sake of following his dream of being a Premier League number nine is either highly commendable or borderline lunacy and it seems far more unlikely than 50/1 that he’ll complete a move to Barcelona in January.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date