I have been wondering for a while about why Theo Walcott was not playing much for Arsenal. After getting about 10 minutes as a sub against Burnley in November, the England star’s long injury lay-off was finally over, but now it is nearly April and Walcott has made just five starts, two of them in the FA cup, and has only featured eight times as a sub.
Arsene Wenger has spoken about it taking a long time to come back after so long but we have seen the likes of Ramsey and Ozil brought back much more quickly and so when the talk of contract negotiations with Walcott came up, I suspected that there was a bit more to the situation than met the eye.
Then articles like this one in The Mirror started to pop up in the football media, suggesting that Liverpool could be interested in signing the flying Gunner, while their own contract negotiations with pacy England star Raheem Sterling are not going too well.
So I started to wonder whether this could be some plan of Wenger’s. The Frenchman does tend to think long term after all and with Alexis, Giroud, Welbeck and Ozil he is not short of options right now. When Walcott was stalling on signing two years ago, there was talk of a swap with Sterling but the Liverpool player had not really proved himself at that point. Now I reckon that Wenger would do the swap in a heartbeat. Sterling is younger and more importantly for Wenger, he is versatile and can play anywhere along the front three as well as the CAM role.
It is just my own theory, but by not playing Walcott the Arsenal boss makes the contract demands easier to turn down and makes him more likely to want a transfer away. Now imagine that Liverpool fail to qualify for the Champions League while the Gunners do. If you were Sterling, would you not fancy joining Arsenal? Can you see this surprise transfer switch happening this summer?