Does Theo Walcott have a future at Arsenal?

Since joining Arsenal in 2006, Theo Walcott hasn’t really managed to hold down a regular spot in Arsene Wenger’s starting line-up. In fact, the 27-year-old has made just 42 appearances (23 of those cameo roles off the bench) for the Gunners since the beginning of the 2014/15 campaign and it might be time for Walcott and Arsenal to head separate ways this summer.

Walcott after scoring v Stoke
Walcott after scoring v Stoke

Ultimately, Walcott faces a real fight for regular first-team football. The England international has the entire summer to focus on his future after Roy Hodgson opted against taking him to the European Championship this summer and it might be time for Walcott to decide whether he is a striker or a winger. While versatility is important, Walcott is well down the Arsenal pecking order for both positions right now.

Whether the England man stays or leaves the Emirates this summer, one thing’s for sure: Arsenal are going to be incredibly fun to watch next season. If Wenger signs a striker, the Gunners could well go on to win their first Premier League title since 2004. Olivier Giroud simply cannot cut it at the top level and Arsenal have been linked with the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Maxi Romero and Mauro Icardi this summer.

Wright says it is time

Over the summer, fans will be flocking to buy tickets to see Arsenal as they bid to achieve this incredible feat. If nothing else, the Gunners will once again play the most exciting and free-flowing brand of football in the top flight – even if they fall short in their pursuit of the title. With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back from injury and the likes of Alex Iwobi coming through, Arsenal have plenty of young talent and they could dominate the Premier League for many years to come.

But looking specifically at Walcott’s Arsenal career, his future looks bleak. On the wing, Alexis Sanchez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi and Joel Campbell all pull rank above Walcott on current form. Unfortunately, his chances of getting much game time upfront don’t look much better – especially as the Gunners will sign at least one striker this summer. If nothing else, a fresh start away from the Emirates could be exactly what Walcott needs to reignite his career.

Final salute?
Final salute?

Realistically, it might be better for all parties if Walcott moves on this summer. Arsenal would still get a reasonable sum of money for Walcott and he gets to play first-team football for another Premier League side – everybody’s happy. However, Wenger may want to keep Walcott on the books after Welbeck’s injury and it could be yet another frustrating campaign for the England man. After all, he’s certainly not going to get a look-in if Arsenal sign a world class striker.

Theo Walcott has been a loyal servant over the last ten years but his time is up. Gunners fans will remember him but unfortunately, his time at Arsenal will always be remembered as ‘what could have been’.

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7 comments

  1. Well this will not happen, as Wenger has already stated. Theo will stay, and The Ox, and Campbell will leave before Theo. Iwobi is the only real challenger left and at the end of the season after 3 solid games he had 4 horrible to follow!

    1. I have not seen anywhere that Wenger ruled out selling Walcott. I believe the main reason he wanted him to go to Euros was to get him in the shop window..

      1. Hope you are right. Theo still has some transfer value in him …. despite never realising his potential.

    2. Does anyone know why Wenger dislikes Campbell ? Has he never been forgiven for something in the past ? Or does Wenger just not like being proved wrong ? (he should be used to it by now)

      1. I wouldn’t say Wenger dislikes Campbell as such, but Wenger has a fairly predictable seniority strategy. Once a player has established himself at a certain level in the squad hierarchy, trusted to a specific level, it takes a lot for Wenger to displace them with a new guy.

        Campbell is not the finished article but deserved more time. What happened then?

        Some luck is needed to get established Wenger’s trust ladder and Campbell hasn’t had it. I dont think it’s anything more sinister than that

        One could see that although Ox was returning from injury and not in form, in the broader picture, he is established as the trusted sub off the bench and designated, counterattacking runner on the Wing. In the long run i think Wenger sees him in a similar role to Sanchez. So Wenger was always going to give Ox chances to get back his place in the rotation.

        Similarly in midseason, Wenger was hesitant to completely jettison Walcott he tried to get him to play his way out of a slump, even if from the bench. But Walcott eventually blew those chances (and this is why I think it is curtains for Theo this summer).

        I think Campbell was a bit unlucky because while Wenger was running through giving chances to his primary options, Iwobi swooped in at the right time. He has similar attributes to Campbell in terms of link play but more speed and i think this was the key thing. Wenger seems to have set this team up to counter attack. Campbell is good in the final third, but he doesn’t have blazing speed. If you think about for example the goal that iwobi scored at vs Everton on the counter, that’s not only what Wenger was looking for from the Ox and Theo but it was a goal that Campbell would struggle to get on the end of. He has a good shimmy and a burst, but not that burning speed over long distance. And I think this is what is hurting him.

        You must understand that for Iwobi to have seen this amount of playing time he must have been playing out of his skin in practice consistently and for months on end. Despite his reputation for fielding young players, Wenger does not give playing time away for cheap.

        So for example Eleneny has been lucky because he arrived when Coquelin was injured and Cazorla too and then Ramsey as well. So Elneny had wide open room to show what he could to and establish faith. But it’s not all done and next season you KNOW that Wenger will not play Elneny without Cazorla and Ramsey first being given chances to succeed or screw up.

        As for Señor Joel, it may well be that he has to be a pure #9 to get playing time at Arsenal because them he would be staying more in the final third and that is more his zone. Or as a back up to Ozil, but there he has Wilshere and Ramsey too above him on the depth chart.

  2. With Arsene Wenger … many things are possible … especially if his own credibility is bound up in it.

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