Given his injury problems, recent poor form and, let’s be honest, lack of development…it’s fair to say that many Arsenal fans are relatively nonplussed by the prospect of Theo Walcott leaving the club this summer.
A couple of weeks ago, even Arsene Wenger admitted that he’s not sure if the attacker’s future is at the Emirates. “I don’t know yet,” he responded, even though Walcott still has three years left on his current deal.
Since that admission, the 27-year-old, who celebrated a decade as a Gunner earlier this year, has been linked with a whole host of clubs.
In part, that’s because the subject of Theo’s future is perfect clickbait fodder for the web’s grubbier sports-related portals, but it also appears that his agent has begun a PR campaign targeting the sportsdesks of more mainstream publications.
Ignoring the spurious link with AC Milan and the plausible suggestions that West Ham and Liverpool are interested, we turn our attention to today’s ‘exclusive’ in the Evening Standard where James Olley claims:
“Incoming manager Pep Guardiola is a keen admirer of the 27-year-old and Standard Sport understands he has asked City to monitor Walcott’s situation closely as he faces a crossroads in his career at Emirates Stadium.”
The reason for this apparent long-standing admiration? Guardiola had warm words for Walcott’s performance when he came off the bench to help Arsenal draw 2-2 with his Barcelona side six years ago.
As you’re aware, we’re cynical bastards at Arseblog News…so we’re not entirely sold on the idea that the most admired football manager of his generation has had his head turned by 30 minutes of football. And that he’s chosen to ignore the averageness served up all too regularly since.
Granted, City are rumoured to be looking at available English talent to hit their homegrown quota, but it seems hard to believe they have a desire to spend big cash when their incoming boss has made a reputation nurturing young talent and their academy is in fine fettle. Moreover, City’s Qatari owners have pumped millions into their youth infrastructure, something that may well have turned Pep’s eye in the first place.
You also have to ask if Walcott is better than what City currently have? Given Sterling, De Bruyne, Navas, Silva and Nasri can all play wide, teenager Iheanacho is looking promising, big-money was spent on Bony and Aguero is world-class it’s not like there’s huge wiggle room in the squad at the moment.
You can hardly blame Walcott’s representatives for aiming high. Why not shoot for the stars (something Theo takes all too literally when he’s in the box) and hope that something sticks? It’s a tactic that’s been around for years and one that’s also being used by the agent of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
In the last few weeks the Ox, whose situation at Arsenal is very similar to Theo’s, has been linked with Southampton, West Ham United, Liverpool, Manchester United and…Manchester City. The last suggestion predominantly based on Pep Guardiola being impressed by the midfielder’s showing in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at Bayern Munich a couple of years back.
Amazing how you can have no imagination and a wild imagination all at the same time.
Only time will tell what happens to Walcott and the Ox, perhaps they will end up at City…but we wouldn’t bet on it.