Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Keeping Theo Walcott Must Be Gunners' Top Priority
After learning that superstar striker Robin van Persie has decided against extending his contract, Arsenal must immediately turn its attention to Theo Walcott to make sure the team doesn't lose two key pieces.
Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror reports Walcott has also been considering his future with one year left on his current contract. It's unclear how Van Persie's choice will impact him, but Chelsea are interested if he decides to leave Emirates as well, according to the report.
Walcott has made steady progress ever since moving to the Gunners six years ago. He scored 11 goals and chipped in 13 assists across all competitions last season, setting a career-high total for points. He's definitely a player on the rise.
The 23-year-old forward also gained some valuable experience at Euro 2012 as a part of the England national team. He came off the bench in all four of the team's games, scoring a key goal in the Three Lions' comeback victory over Sweden.
What has been evident the entire time is his raw talent. He has tremendous speed, using it to blow by defenders seemingly at will when in top form, and has worked hard to create more open space for himself in the attacking third.
Manager Arsene Wenger doesn't want to compound the loss of Van Persie by watching Walcott take his talents elsewhere as well. He had such a strong start to the transfer window, he doesn't want that all to get erased in a heartbeat.
The Gunners have already added Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. They won't be able to fully replace Van Persie if the Dutch striker gets his wish to continue his career elsewhere, but at least they would limit the amount of drop off that occurs.
Will Walcott stay with Arsenal?
If Walcott leaves, the progress Arsenal has made would be reversed. After watching several high-profile players exit Emirates for new teams last offseason, Wenger doesn't want to have a bad case of déjà vu this summer.
Since it appears Van Persie has made up his mind, the best Arsenal can do now is convince Walcott not to follow in his footsteps. The Gunners still have a strong base of young talent, but they have to stop the trend of players getting away before or during their prime.
While Wenger would probably like to make a couple more moves before the window closes, he should shift all of his attention to a long-term deal for Walcott for the time being.
The Gunners can't afford to lose him.
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