Former England international Alan Shearer believes if Theo Walcott leaves Arsenal for another Premier League rival then The Gunners can forget about luring big-name players and becoming a major force for years to come.
Walcott, who netted a hat-trick against Newcastle over the weekend, is yet to agree a new deal at The Emirates with his current one set to expire in six months time.
The 23-year-old wants to play in the centre-forward role for Arsenal and has been deployed in the position for the past three games, scoring four goals along the way. And Shearer reckons it is important that Arsenal tie him down to a new deal, or risk falling further behind the pack:
‘Arsenal have got to do everything to make Theo Walcott stay at the Emirates or simply forget about being a major force for years to come.
‘It is that big an issue at the club right now.
‘Lose him to one of the big three of Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea and I would not blame Arsenal fans for giving up.
‘Let Walcott leave as well and they are on the back foot immediately when they try to bring any major signing to the Emirates.’
Shearer then went on to commend the club for signing up five of their promising youngster on long-term deals – including Jack Wilshere – and thinks if they can tie Walcott down as well then Arsenal’s future will look bright:
‘They made a big statement of intent recently by signing up five of their bright young stars on long-term deals, most notably Jack Wilshere.
‘Convince Walcott as well that the future is bright and sign him up and suddenly they are moving in the right direction again.
‘It will give them extra power when it comes to getting others to come to the Emirates. Lose him and they continue in reverse and this time might not find the forward gears again.’
‘Walcott is currently THE face of Arsenal worldwide.
‘A great professional who never gets in any trouble, speaks well and represents the club superbly on and off the pitch.
‘This is not someone you want to let go and, if they do, other players will look at the situation and ask why.’
But is Shearer right?
Would it be a disaster if Walcott left Arsenal?
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