Premier League

Who Should Theo Walcott Join In January?

 • by Blair Newman
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Theo Walcott has struggled for game time at Arsenal this season. So far he has played just 48 minutes of Premier League action.

After joining the Gunners in 2006 and playing nearly 400 times, it is perhaps time he moved on to maximise his quality at this stage in his career.

The 28-year-old will need regular football if he is to force his way into England’s World Cup squad next summer.

Southampton, West Ham United and Everton are the latest clubs to show an interest in the former Saints youngster, with his old club looking to sign the England international on a loan deal.

After initially dismissing a move away from the club, it’s believed Arsène Wenger understands the player’s frustrations and would be willing to sanction a departure this month.

The Frenchman may want to keep him on board, but there’s no way the 28-year-old will be comfortable to continue his limited role within the team.

Walcott is Arsenal’s longest serving player and last season, with 19 goals, he was the club’s second-highest scorer in all competitions. This season he has fallen behind Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Iwobi, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sánchez.

We have assessed which of the linked teams would suit the forward best, giving him the best chance to kick-start his career.



Everton have been desperately short on pace since their summer sale of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United. They now have a proliferation of technical No.10s but few one-on-one specialists in the final third.

Walcott, theoretically, would help to help to solve this issue, and would give Sam Allardyce another attacking option in January.

Linked with a move for Besiktas forward Cenk Tosun, Walcott could either partner the Turkish striker, or play off the wings. With Yannick Bolasie back, the Toffees would become a much quicker side on the counter.

If the Arsenal man wants to return to the place where his career began, Southampton, he should be prepared for a serious challenge for first-team action. The Saints already have creativity and incisiveness thanks to Dusan Tadić, Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond.

Yet, his adaptability to play wide or through the middle would help Mauricio Pellegrino’s team improve on the break, similar to how they troubled Arsenal at St. Mary’s.

Similar competition would await Walcott at West Ham, who spent big in the summer to reinforce their attack, bringing in Javier Hernández and Marko Arnautovic.

However, with the Hammers also struggling this term, David Moyes would welcome the battle for places.


As Walcott has only played 47 minutes in the Premier League this season, it is necessary to look at last season’s statistics as an indicator of how he compares to the players he will be competing against for game time should he leave Arsenal for one of the aforementioned clubs.

The players in question would likely be: Aaron Lennon (Everton), Tadić (Southampton), Michail Antonio (West Ham).

Offensively, he is better than many of his potential rivals. Lennon had his well-reported troubles last season, but has yet to record a goal or an assist this campaign.

Meanwhile, Antonio was the only one to better Walcott for both shots per game – 2.7 to 2.2 – and average dribbles completed – 2.6 to 1.5.

In possession, however, the Arsenal man was not up to the standard of many of his peers. Only averaging 0.5 key passes last term, worse than Antonio and Tadic.

Defensively, with 0.8 tackles won per game and 0.7 interceptions made, he is an improvement compared to the others, but you are not bringing the Arsenal forward on board for his ability to chase back.

On the basis of the figures available, the 28-year-old would not be guaranteed to start at any of the clubs linked with his signature. However, the hope would be, with a new start and new chance to impress, he could rekindle the spark that once made him an exciting prospect and improve on all his previous statistics.

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