Celebrating Nacho’s contract renewal this week was clearly not enough for the Arsenal fraternity, because we’ve got another ‘congratulations’ that took place yesterday, as Theo Walcott hit ten years with The Arsenal.

You can say what you like about Theo’s performances during his tenure – and many do – but you can’t deny that in the modern game, ten years with any club is a rarity. Sure, he hasn’t been an ever-present during that time racking up over 500 appearances (348 including sub appearances according the the Soccerbase website) during that time, but he has had a very interesting Arsenal career.

It’s interesting because he seems to have had so many different roles during his time at the club. He’s been the child prodigy, the erratic winger, the assist merchant (that season when The Dutch Bloke scored all those goals to keep us in the top four), the top goalscorer (when he hit more than 20 having spent half the season injured – just before he signed a new deal), the pacey frontman and the impact sub. Perhaps given his length of service at The Arsenal you’d expect that, but I wonder if his changing roles in the team coupled with multiple injuries, has result in him never quite being that player who we all thought we might get when he first signed?

I still rate Theo. He’s all about the end product, which is why Arsène has moved him more centrally in the last year. He’s a goalscorer who plays off the last man and looks to use his instinct to get us goals. He offers a totally different option to Giroud and indeed, to anybody in our team, because he’s about explosive pace  and end product. End of. Is that enough to become a regular? I’m not sure.

I remember being I a pub for the 2007 cup final and seeing a 17-year-old Theo open his body up and slot the ball home for his first goal at the club and thinking “this boys gonna be a star”. Yet as with all things football, the brightness that the star can get to tends to have many variables to it, including injury. Theo has spent plenty of time on the bench and over the last couple of seasons, with the competition in this team, injuries can set you back for not just the duration you are out, but longer. Just ask Debuchy. Or Gibbs. Or Wilshere. Or perhaps even Welbeck when he does eventually rejoin his first team colleagues as available for selection. 

Walcott will, I suspect, find his game time further limited when Alexis returns and with Giroud in form up top, I can’t see him losing his starting place to our speedy centre forward. 

I think ten years – however it has come about and however he has frustrated us at times – is something to be proud of. I don’t think he’ll get another ten years at the club and if we’re realistic, unless he adapts his game and influences matches more when he reaches the other side of 30, he will probably find his playing time limited anywhere when his pace starts to dwindle. But for now I think he represents an important player in this Arsenal teams fight for the title.

I do wish we could have seen more of him since the arrival of Mesut though. The guy has a radar that is out of this world and if Theo gets chances to make runs in behind defences, Özil will put the ball right in to his stride. Perhaps there is still more to come this season, but it does feel like his chance may have passed him by with injury early in the season, because Giroud’s form has picked up since then and he looks like the clear number one choice.

Walcott may often go missing for large swathes of matches, but we will still see him get his chance in certain games, I think. He was good in the Community Shield against Chelski in August, so perhaps there’s an opportunity this weekend that Arsène feels he might have stumbled upon, given that Terry, Cahill and Zouma all prefer target men to nippy ones. We’ll have to wait and see for that though.

For now, raise a glass, an eyebrow or even a ‘like’ for a player who has managed to hit a decade at our great club.