Quite strangely, the dust seems to have settled on the Robin van Persie situation.
The initial fury among the Arsenal faithful seems to have subsided, replaced with an air of inevitable disappointment that, for the second successive season, we are to lose our captain and best player.
There is some speculation regarding where he will go, with AC Milan—and not Manchester City—now appearing the most likely destination. There is, of course, no tangible evidence to suggest this, other than the club's reported decision to sell Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Saudi-backed Paris Saint Germain, thereby providing them with the need for a top striker and actual money to go out and get one.
That leaves us with Theo Walcott, the other Arsenal player with just 12 months remaining on his Gunners contract.
Unlike van Persie, I believe Walcott will sign a new contract and extend his Arsenal career. And here's why.
Where will he go?
With the amount of playing time Walcott is getting at Arsenal, it is unlikely that he could go to a bigger club and do much better on the playing side of things. There was talk of a possible move to Chelsea, but with the signings of Eden Hazard and Marko Marin, as well as the continued presence of the excellent Juan Mata, Walcott would find himself on the bench far more than he would like.
He would certainly fare no better at either of the Manchester clubs, and a move to any other team in England would certainly represent a downgrade.
While there may be question marks about his game, there is no doubt that Theo Walcott is one of the most marketable players in the English game. He's an attractive target for any club to have on its rolls. He knows that, and he wants to make the most of it, which is fair enough.
Now, were he to sign a new contract at Arsenal, it would certainly make him one of the club's highest earners, close to the £100,000-per-week mark. It is unlikely that he could earn much more elsewhere, even at Chelsea. And were Arsenal to allow him to run down his contract, he might find himself in a position where nobody was willing to cough up that £100,000 per week, Bosman notwithstanding.
The smart money, pun intended, therefore suggests that he would take the money on Arsenal's table and secure himself for the next few years.
Signs from the club
A fair indicator of a player's future status at a club is often the forward-looking PR activities that the player participates in. If recent evidence on Arsenal's website is to be seen, Theo Walcott is very much in the club's future plans.
Not only is he modelling the club's new away kit, "Purple Reign"—they must be sharing RVP's PR advisers—but he has also been talking up the passion of football fans from the orient prior to Arsenal's preseason tour of the Far East. These are as clear signs as any that he is here to stay.
So, while last season's Batman is off to pastures anew, it appears as if Robin is likely to be left behind.
Theo Walcott's favourite song next season:
Chim Chimmery Chim Chimmery Chim Chim Charoo
Who needs van Persie when we've got Giroud
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