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Friday, January 20, 2006

Walcott has two crucial assets at an exceptional level to ensure his success at AFC

So the day that London suddenly sees blue skies is the day that Theo Walcott becomes an Arsenal player!!

It's a good omen for a fantastic signing. This is a big day for AFC because Theo Walcott is an extraordinary talent. His signing also confirms the intent of the club to progress and meet the Chelsea challenge.

His distinct qualities are a perfect-fit for AFC: high technical quality, supreme speed combined with total balance, and a pure athlete/footballer. He compares to Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney as evidently magnificent young striking talents to be produced in England in the last ten years, and it is great for both him and AFC that his progression will be in an Arsenal shirt.

Walcott won't be able to find a better coach anywhere to maximise his talents than Arsene Wenger. The AFC manager is a master of developing gifted young players into fantastic footballers: Henry, Vieira, Cole to name just a few. Also, the ultra-quick and precise attacking gameplay of AFC is the best type of footballing system for a pure attacking footballer like Walcott.

Comparisons with a young Thierry Henry are spot-on. Arsene Wenger constantly refers to Henry as having 'unlimited potential' because of his amazing 'talent and motivation'. I agreed with Wenger when he first said this about Thierry- and TH is still living up to this statement.

I'm convinced we are going to hear the exact same phrase from Arsene Wenger when discussing the merits of Theo Walcott. For aside from his devastating talent, he also looks to have the other crucial asset necessary to take him right to the very top: a great mindset.

All the evidence I've seen indicates he has a fantastic temperament. This is a decisive quote from TW:

"Staying level-headed is the most important thing for me. I just want to play, improve as a player and play at the highest level."

I've heard him speak and he certainly comes across as level-headed. His demeanour on the pitch solidifies that impression. The Soton scout has talked about his great 'level-headedness'. And the former Soton player, Graeme Le Saux, has said he has 'all the mental qualities to go to the top'.

It's not enough to have great talent if you want to reach and stay at the very top over a long period of time. You need a world-class mindset too: just look at Henry, or Tiger Woods, or Roger Federer. It's great that Walcott has this vital asset and does - as the quote suggests - recognise the importance of it.

Walcott is only 16 years old. He is talented enough to make an instant impact for the team but his true worth lies in what he will bring to AFC over the next decade.

The addition of Walcott to a squad already comprising fantastic young talents like Senderos, Toure, Clichy, Fabregas, Reyes, Van Persie, Diaby, Eboue, Gilbert, Song, Hleb, Lupoli and Adebayor shows that Arsenal's future is looking very bright. Add a Captain Henry and a fantastic new 60,000 capacity stadium into the equation, and the potential definitely exists for Wenger's 'next-generation' AFC to emulate their predecessors.

P.S. Nice quote from Arsene on TW:

"His attitude is predominant. What happens until you are 16 is because you are a talented player. Between 16 and 18 your mental state takes shape and that shows how much you want to be a special guy, how much you want to be the best and that is the next step. I believe he has the ingredients in his personality to be steady, determined and motivated enough to achieve that.”


Blogger RedsMan said...

Great acquisition for the Gunners and yet again it is a youngster with immense potential. Arsene Wenger aimed to show not only Thierry Henry and the club his determination to challenge thoroughly in the Premiership but the league itself.

I can see TW coming under the wing of Henry, they will be a partner ship of serious repercussions if defenders fail to be alert. Southampton have departed with Harry Redknapp, Kevin Phillips, Peter Crouch, Antii Niemi and now Theo Walcott. I wonder how The Southampton fans see their perspective challenge for promotion next season.


1/20/2006 2:09 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

It's a done deal...thank the gods! Ah well...we have to really see how it goes...but as you say T, there isn't a much better quality to have than a good brain..and that probably puts Theo in the top 5%! HA!

Another young prospect...andother opportunity to TRULY develop that world beating playing player like Rooney...only that he plays for Arsenal! Lupoli, Bendtner etc...I think they will all face pressure...but the fact is that this is increased competition and a challenge for ALL players...even Ljungberg, Pires, Hleb, Reyes etc.

We have an ENGLISHMAN as well...and that helps, even though we don't really look at passports at Arsenal...but a strong signal is there...we need strength and cover..and not only ONE starting 11. Wenger will certainly bear this in mind and maybe a TRUE plan B can develop with this flexibility, just like at Chelsea (sort of)...

Walcott is not the only missing piece though...and we need to ensure the other youngster get their chance to shine. Theo coming over only represents a mental win vs. other premiership teams...just like Man U did with Rooney. Hopefully...we aren't paying over the odds like Man U though!

1/20/2006 2:34 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have heard that "carlos vela" who arsenal signed before christmas is an even better player remember he was top scorer and player oy the tournament in the youth world cup last year. and he is also 17

1/20/2006 2:37 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a good sign of things to come another good signing could he possibly be the best arsenal signing since king henry? only time will tell.

1/20/2006 3:12 pm

Anonymous IL-Gooner said...

Carlos Vela was top scorer of the tournament, but he wasn't the top player. I think his Barcelona's Mexican team-mate was voted top player. I haven't seen much of him, but I suppose he's more of a Lupoli type.

1/20/2006 3:29 pm

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Well said - Vela is also important, as is Lupoli, Bendtner etc. The TEAM mentality must get going...and that's a great challenge for the youngsters.

I noticed on the official site...he's listed as a MID-FIELDER! Wooot! I guess he can be the next Ballack then!!!

1/20/2006 3:36 pm

Blogger BlindJak said...

To be honest I’ve not actually seen the lad play so only have the hype to judge him by. As so much has been made of him, and now a huge transfer fee for a 16 year old, he’s got quite a weight on his shoulders to live up to.

But as you say if he’s level headed then that shouldn’t be a problem. After all Owen has handled it well after being a starlet after his goal against Argentina.

And with Theo, no only does his own head seem level, he seems to have good advisors around him. Unlike say Anelka or John Obi Mikel. After all he could have signed for Chelsea and not doubt been paid a load more cash but put his career before money, as one should at that age.

Here is an interesting read on how Chelsea have already missed out on him once before back in 2000, which also shows the quality of his family.

1/20/2006 4:08 pm

Blogger T said...

Thanx for your comments everyone!

Totally agree with your additional points Nturtle. I've also checked out and saw him listed as a midfielder. Maybe Wenger sees him as a competitor for Ljungberg's place on the right-hand side... especially if using the 4-5-1 system??

Good point about Vela- completely forgot about him. Saying that, I'm still confused about his exact status at the club. Has he really been signed yet? I need to do my homework on this!

BJ- you are spot-on to mention the importance of Walcott, his family and his advisors in this deal. The Southampton chariman is very angry that he couldn't accept the biggest deal on the table- i.e. from Chelsea- and this is because money wasn't the dominating priority of Walcott et al. First Gerrard, then Henry and now Walcott... there is hope yet that Chelsea won't buy every quality player that they set their eyes on!

Finally, agree Redsman that relegation has proven costly for Soton. Yet their youth set-up does look excellent, and hopefully in a season or two time a few more youngsters will be breaking through to make a decisive impact for the south coast team.

1/20/2006 5:24 pm

Blogger Kim Stian Ervik said...

Vela, Lupoli, Walcott, van Persie, Reyes, Adebayor.....Wenger is really on a shoppingspree for young strikers. Now all he needs to do to please me is to get us Gattuso and we will be flying.

1/20/2006 8:05 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Good to hear from you, Kim.

I like this quote from Harry Redknapp: "The kid can run through puddles and not make a splash - he drifts over the ground."

Under the right tutelage, Walcott can positively exert tremendous qualities and at any of the top Premiership teams I would think he can do no wrong in that direction.


1/21/2006 3:27 am

Anonymous Lost Key said...

Don't know much about TW. He is still very young, maybe still got many years before he could emerge as a premiership star. Since his first year in Highbury, Arsene Wenger always spotted doing experiment with youngsters. Some turned out later to be excellent, while many others not (so i did not call Arsene is the best in maximizing young players' talent). In my opinion, the Frenchman did it the best with Patrick Viera and Nicholas Anelka (the latter is excellent footballer despite attitude problem, and yes, PV and NA are Frenchmen too). TH is not purely 'made by Arsene'. He already got a strong name before he moved to Juventus. The case was the Turin's club prefer Italians as top striker. So TH was placed into winger role.

1/22/2006 1:01 pm

Blogger RedsMan said...

Thanks for that insight, LK.

1/22/2006 7:00 pm

Blogger T said...

Lost Key- you make a lot of good points.

TH was flying at Monaco which is where Wenger gave him his debut. After a very hard time at Juve Wenger bought him back under is tutelage and converted Henry not just into a magnificent all-round attacking player but into one of the best in the world.

For me, Henry had all the potential but it is Wenger coaching, guidance and style of teamplay that has significantly helped Henry to maximise his talent.

Agree with you that most of Wenger biggest successes is with young French players. But he has also done a good job with Ashley Cole- so there is a precedent that he can produce an excellent English player.

However, there are also the likes of Bentley, Pennant, Stephen Hughes who have broken into the first team only to fade. Whether this is down to the mentality of these indiviudal players or Wenger is an open question... I tend to think it is the former.

This last question explains why the aspect of TW's mentality is an important one. Pennant has good talent but a proven poor mentality. Hughes likewise had a lot of talent but did not have a good mindset. This is why both left the club.

I'm hoping that because TW looks to have a good mindset he won't go the way of these ex-Arsenal players... but will follow in the line of Henry, Cole, etc.

Yep, good comment Kim. Not sure if AFC can afford Gattuso- but he would be a major asset for the squad!

1/23/2006 12:01 pm


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