Arsene Wenger has admitted that he is unsure whether Theo Walcott has a future with the club, comments that have sparked interest from several Premier League clubs.
The 27-year-old has found himself on the bench in every match-day squad since the 3-2 defeat to Manchester United, and has had his place stolen in the side by young Alex Iwobi.
That has left his international career in tatters, with the chances of Roy Hodgson taking the forward to the Euro’s this summer looking very slim given that he’s only playing ten minute spells here and there.
Walcott has picked up just five league goals this season leaving his position under Wenger under threat, despite the managers admiration for a player who joined the Gunners back in 2006.
With 43 international caps to his name the pressure has always been on Walcott to sign a contract extension, but following months of deliberation he has failed to prove his worth.
Last year saw the striker become one of Arsenal’s highest earners alongside Alexis and Mesut Ozil as he signed a long term deal worth up to £140,000 a week.
But it seems a season filled with disappointment and missed chances has made Wenger reconsider his options in attack, with a summer predicted to be his last in order to reshape the squad.
Whilst talking ahead of the Sunderland game at the weekend the Gunners boss, who has one year left on his contract, admitted that he is uncertain whether Walcott will be wearing a red and white jersey next year.
I don’t know yet (if he could leave). I’m not in transfer mode at the moment but I think he has gone through a bad spell.
He has responded very well because he said ‘OK, I will work harder and more’. When he comes on now, you see he is motivated and focused.
Let’s see how well he finishes the season.
Pressure has mounted from the fans for Wenger to make serious changes once the campaign is over, and with a handful of games left it seems players could be playing for their future.
Walcott has failed to show he’s our first choice on the right wing week after week, and despite a stint in the forward role we have a fit-again Danny Welbeck who gives us strength and agility.
When it comes down to whether Arsenal need a player like Walcott, you have to consider what he can really offer us because his finishing has become woeful, and he’s somehow managed to turn his pace into a negative.
If there was a position that you could say is capable of being filled by players already in this squad then it’s Walcott hands down, the transition would be easy and Walcott wouldn’t be missed.
There’s no leadership despite his age, and apart from the typical post-match press conference he doesn’t offer a voice on or off of the pitch.
Saying that there are plenty of clubs in England that would love to have a player like Walcott at their disposal, and if Arsenal are going to cash in then now is the time to do it because Walcott still has three years left on his contract.
Manchester City and Chelsea will be watching his situation carefully, and even a return to his former club Southampton could be on the cards if the price is right, and you can’t see Wenger turning down £25million for a flop… Can you?