Recently, it was revealed that Arsenal skipper, Robin van Persie, decided that he will not be extending his contract with the Gunners. This came as discouraging news to both Gunner fans and teammates.
With this, van Persie will leave either this summer, or next summer on a free transfer.
So, amongst this hype of van Persie's transfer, there have been rumors that Theo Walcott might also leave along with the Dutchman, as his contract is also set to expire in around 12 months. In The Guardian, it was reported that Chelsea might be interested in signing the English speedster.
The reason for Theo's move might be similar to van Persie's, a lack of ambition in the club, or it could even be that he feels influenced by the captain's decision to depart.
This would mean that Arsenal would need a reinforcement for the flanks. There are many players out there who could come to Arsenal to replace Walcott. It might not even be necessary, as Arsenal have players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ryo Miyaichi, Gervinho, and new signing Lukas Podolski, who can operate on the wings.
But, it would also be beneficial for the team to have an experienced player who has played in this position in the Premier League.
Fortunately, there happens to be a player who could fit into that scenario. Hatem Ben Arfa is that player.
In the Mirror, it was reported that Arsenal is one of the teams that is in the race for the French winger. The other club reported to be after him is Chelsea.
Ben Arfa is a player that could be a potential replacement for Theo Walcott for many reasons.
First, he has played in the Premier League for a couple of years now. Initially he was just on loan with Newcastle, and he had an injury that eliminated the majority of his season. However, then a permanent deal was made later in the year.
The next season, after recovery, he was able to break in to his season game by game. He ended the 2011-2012 season having scored six goals in 30 appearances and had seven assists.
About a full season isn't very long, but this player has managed to perform well with Newcastle, and I'm sure that if he joined Arsenal, he could only evolve as a player from where he is right now.
The 25-year-old Frenchman was quite influential in Newcastle's success last season; he added many traits to their game.
The traits that this player possesses are some that are necessary in Arsenal's team.
Ben Arfa is a skilled dribbler. Arsenal needs a player who is capable of taking defenders one-on-one and who is capable of getting by the defender with speed and pace.
Would Hatem Ben Arfa be a good signing if Theo Walcott leaves?
Arsenal has some speedy, agile wingers such as Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolsko and Ryo Miyaichi. With Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi, time will be the key factor in their improvement as players. Chamberlain proved last season that he has what it takes to succeed in the Premier League. Miyaichi was on loan with Bolton for part of the season and he played well there.
They have big futures at Arsenal.
Then, with Podolski and Gervinho, Podolski is likely to play on the left wing in the coming season. With Gervinho, he started his season pressing his foot on the gas pedal. He was the energy of the attack and would use his change of pace to get by players and put balls into the box.
Then, in the later part of the season, he wasn't as effective on the wings. He didn't have that same energetic trait about him.
Ben Arfa is the kind of player who is up and running for the whole period of time that he is playing. He is also capable of cutting in with his stronger left foot from the right side of the pitch to make a good cut to set up a chance on goal.
There isn't a player at Arsenal who can cut in from the side with his stronger foot. This is something that could help Arsenal when they play.
He is also an energetic player, trying to make good runs whenever he could to make an attacking run with his team.
He could replicate that energy level at Arsenal as well. Theo Walcott has a lot of energy whenever he plays—he is always outrunning defenders with his outrageous speed, so Ben Arfa could also add that energy trait to Arsenal's game. He is not as fast as Walcott, but he could make runs just as good as his.
One issue that this player has had recently is his discipline. NDTV Sports reported that Ben Arfa had a row with France coach, Laurent Blanc, in the dressing room.
This is something that could gradually improve with time, and Arsenal is a club where the atmosphere is pleasant. Before Robin van Persie arrived at Arsenal, he was a youngster who also had some problems with discipline. With time, he eventually became the captain.
I'm sure that if Ben Arfa came to Arsenal, he could improve this problem with time.
Ultimately, Hatem Ben Arfa would be a good signing for the Gunners if Theo Walcott departs from Arsenal.