The contract talks between Arsenal and Theo Walcott are not moving forward, and the Gunners may have to sell the talented forward in January. But the team must not let him leave for Manchester United.
The Daily Mail’s Sami Mokbel reported the following on the current situation with Walcott:
Sir Alex Ferguson is keen to land the England winger, whose deal expires at the end of the season. Sportsmail understands that should Walcott leave Arsenal, his first choice would be United. Walcott is declining to sign a five-year deal worth £75,000 a week, while formal talks over fresh terms have not taken place since August 28.
Had the contract fiasco occurred last season, there would be little fuss about selling Walcott. Prior to this year, he had shown incredible flashes of talent, but had failed to perform consistently.
But Walcott has taken a leap forward this season and has 10 goals and eight assists for Arsenal in all competitions already. He only managed to record nine goals and 10 assists during all of last year’s campaign.
After being tapped for stardom as a teenager, the 23-year-old has arrived as a top-class player. Unfortunately for Arsenal, his contract dispute has overshadowed his performance.
United are rumored to be losing Nani in the upcoming transfer window, according to The Independent’s Simon Rice, and Arsenal are reportedly the frontrunner’s to sign him. Rice puts Nani’s price tag at £20 million, while Mokbel claims Walcott could leave the Emirates for just £8 million.
Even without considering transfer fees, a Walcott-Nani swap would benefit the Red Devils. Sir Alex Ferguson would be receiving the younger and more versatile player who is currently in better form.
Nani, 26, has just one goal and one assist in league matches this season. He has not been a regular in the starting 11 and has been on the pitch for the opening whistle just five times for EPL fixtures.
Walcott, 23, has made it a point to broadcast his wish to play centre-forward. While it will be difficult for Ferguson to find space for him up top over Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez, Walcott is capable of playing as a striker, unlike Nani.
In addition, Walcott’s speculative move to Old Trafford would make him the second uber-talented Gunner to leave for United this season after van Persie’s blockbuster switch.
Walcott, via The Daily Mail, admitted to missing his former teammate and said, “I do miss him but you’ve just got to get on with it and wish him all the best. You always miss your best players and he’s a great man and great professional.”
A reunion for these two players would improve United’s already potent attack while the league leader’s defense will also get a boost following Nemanja Vidic’s return.
Signing Nani while letting Walcott leave would not improve the Gunners’ squad, but it would allow United to get better while angering the fan base.
Walcott’s exit may be imminent. Arsenal must avoid a scenario in which he leaves for United.