Is it time for Theo Walcott to leave Arsenal?
Theo Walcott is one of the biggest mysteries in English football: On his day, there are fewer better, but his purple patches are as unpredictable as they come. Signed in 2006 for £5m from St. Mary's, he then went on to play twice for England and was picked for the 2006 Germany World Cup. He was seen as the eventual heir to Thierry Henry's throne and even inherited his squad number when the Frenchman Left for Barcelona. The striker/right forward has over 100 Arsenal career goals, a feat only 17 other players throughout Arsenal's history have achieved, but has not started a single Premier League match this season. This has seen him miss the latest England squad despite an influx of youngsters by Gareth Southgate who clearly stated that he would only consider players playing regularly.
Walcott totalled a respectable 19 goals last season but has fallen even further down the bench following the arrival of Lacazzete from Olympique Lyon. The central attacking spot in Wenger's 3-4-3 is now rotated between Alexis, Lacazzete, and Giroud. The ‘Theo Walcott can pull a Thierry Henry and evolve into a lethal striker' experiment is surely done with and should he be looking to play, the two positions behind the striker are his best bets.
Unfortunately for him, these positions are occupied by arguably two of the best players in Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.it is difficult to see Wenger regularly benching either of the two for Walcott unless something drastic happens. Should Wenger revise his tactics and revert to the 4-2-3-1, Ozil may then occupy the central number ten role leaving the right wing position up for grabs. It is also important to note that both Alexis Sanchez and Ozil are free to sign pre-contract agreements with foreign clubs as their contracts run down to the final six months. Could Wenger choose to be his usual stubborn self and not sell them in January but rather ‘punish' them by benching them in a world cup year? Will the Frenchman outright sell them? There are more factors in plays when it comes to Walcott's Immediate future.
Competition for places has also been tough at Arsenal in this inside forward position. Aaron Ramsey, Dany Welbeck, Iwobi and the ever-impressive Reiss Nelson are all competing for the minutes not gobbled up by Ozil and Alexis.
Big Sam has brought positive vibes to an Everton side that was extremely underperforming and rumours linking him to making a January move for Walcott may not be far off the point considering Walcott's last call-up to the national side was during Allardyce's sole game in charge of England, a 1-0 win against Slovakia. With the team overstocked on central midfielders (Tom Davies, ‘Rooney', Sigurdsson, Davy Klaasen, Gueye, etc.) it is safe to say Everton could use some pace on the wings and Theo's eye for goal could also be a valuable asset.
With just 18 months left on his contract, it is decision time for both Arsenal FC and Theo Walcott, to prevent another protracted contact running out saga. After a decade at the club, it just may be time for the 28-year-old to wave goodbye and try salvage the final part of his career.