10 minutes after I told the office how much I was looking forward to the start of the season and seeing what Brendan Rodgers would do with Liverpool’s style of play, up pops this screaming headline on Twitter. ‘Liverpool to bid £15m for Arsenal’s Walcott.” Laugh? I nearly jumped out of the window.
When a second source reported it within three minutes two interns had to hold me back as I bellowed ‘Noooooooooo’ into the drizzle of Little Portland Street. I have nothing personal against Walcott and have no doubt on his day he can be mightily impressive, but as one of our main summer signings for a price well above that Barcelona have just paid for the impressive Jordi Alba? Not. A. Sodding. Chance.
From watching a lot of Swansea last season, I’m well aware that Rodgers likes a pair of tricky, nippy, technically adroit players in the wide positions, and Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer were a constant joy to watch with their switch hitting and ball retention. No matter what Walcott’s strengths are, he is not that player.
If you just look at Walcott’s banner stats of eight goals, eight assists and 41 chances created you could say that I’m a pillock who knows nothing about the game. Yet the Arsenal season ticket holder who sits opposite me will, more often than not, spend Monday morning lamenting what could’ve been rather than praising what he did.
For a player with notoriously fragile confidence to arrive for a big fee at the beginning of yet another rebuilding phase could be a big nail in his coffin
The hallmarks of tiki-taka are ball retention and intelligent movement, especially into supporting positions for the man on the ball. Walcott isn’t that player, his first movement is always forward and, when he does come inside, it’s often diagonally into the box. His passing accuracy in the opposition half last season was a paltry 67% and his dribble completion was 34% (Rosicky’s was 67%).
Another reason I don’t want him to come is, essentially, attitude. Thierry Henry has been heard to covertly question whether Theo wants it enough, and for a player with notoriously fragile confidence to arrive for a big fee at the beginning of yet another rebuilding phase could be a big nail in his coffin.
If Rodgers was set on playing a classic 4-4-2, with Carroll and Suarez up top, I have no doubt Theo Walcott would have some level of success. But the fact that Rodgers wants a fluid front three interchanging positions means that Walcott would more than likely crowd the space where other more intelligent players want to tread.
I could go on here, about his first touch under pressure, how his crossing goes missing in nearly all of the big games and also how he seems too nice really flourish. Good luck with your career Theo, but please don’t come to Anfield.
If you liked this, check these out
Click here for more stories on Football and Sport
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook