Arsenal Transfer Targets to Replace Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott is out until next season. His injury robs Arsenal of a uniquely speedy, creative and clinical winger who was the club's leading scorer last season and was beginning to have a significant impact after returning from an injury earlier this season.
The silver lining, however, is that Walcott tore his ACL right as the January transfer window opened. Arsenal have had time to scope out a short-term replacement and determine if Walcott's absence necessitates a signing.
If Arsene Wenger decides to go that route, he might have a look at these four players.
It is difficult to break into the starting XI at Barcelona with players like Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez and Neymar ahead of you in the pecking order.
Still, Cristian Tello has managed to build himself a nice resume at the Camp Nou. His 16 goals in 72 appearances are not too shabby, and at 22 years old he still has room to grow.
He must know that he has very little chance of ever becoming a regular in the Blaugrana's lineup, and it would be wise to look for a place where he can display his talent more regularly.
Arsene Wenger loves technically skilled, creative wingers like Tello, so the two might be a good fit.
Ntep has been very widely linked with Arsenal this month and, superficially at least, is just the sort of player people expect Arsene Wenger to sign.
The young forward looks to have a tremendous amount of raw talent, much like Yaya Sanogo, who Wenger was eager to snap up last summer. He can play anywhere across the front line and could be molded to fit into whatever role he needs to fill.
Wenger usually gives young forwards their first chances on the wing anyway, so Ntep could potentially have an impact this season if he is a quick learner.
Signing Michy Batshuayi would involve some risk. He is still young, is not the finished article and has no experience in an elite European league.
Batshuayi has been on fire this season, though, which is why his name has cropped up in so many transfer rumor stories lately.
At the age of 20, he has scored 14 goals in 21 appearances for Standard Liege in the Belgian Pro League, according to the club's official website. Perhaps, with a little pressure to perform at the level of a more mature player, Batshuayi could flummox defenders who have not yet figured out how to play against him.
Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph reports that Draxler's release clause is a hefty £37.8 million, which Arsenal will almost certainly not pay after shelling out about £5 million more on Mesut Ozil just a few months ago.
But Draxler is only 20 years old, and is already the focal point of Schalke's attack. Wilson quotes Schalke's general manager as saying that the player's future is somewhat beyond the club's control, and also cites Draxler's previous interest in a move to Arsenal.
If Arsenal could somehow drive a hard bargain and get Draxler for several million pounds less than his release clause, Arsene Wenger would have pulled another classic coup.
However, Draxler can only have an impact this season if his injury is not as severe as some reports indicate.