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.
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.
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’.