Theo Walcott’s whole contribution to Arsenal’s Premier League season to this point quantities to 47 minutes. Not whilst many as Ali Dia managed for Southampton in essentially the most notorious profession in English league historical past: his solitary 53-minute look in November 1996.
To interrupt it down additional, Walcott has not mustered a single shot within the league for Arsenal, not to mention a objective. He has contributed 11 passes, and never a whiff of an help. Not even one dribble, though he has managed a foul.
A frustratingly inconsistent participant has sunk into full disrepair in the case of the competitions which actually matter. Which ought to give Arsenal a great steer as to what must be achieved about this in January, with experiences steadily constructing that Walcott is needed elsewhere.
Though his contributions within the second-string midweek group have been helpful sufficient — with targets in back-to-back appearances in opposition to Doncaster within the League Cup and BATE Borisov within the Europa League in September — Walcott is successfully completed as a participant of prominence at Arsenal. The membership ought to now make that distinction official on the earliest doable juncture.
It has been coming for some time. These well-known suits of kind purchased a few contract extensions however Walcott’s general physique of labor has by no means satisfied. The ultimate blow got here final season, in truth, when Walcott began with a flurry of targets however by the top of 2016-17 had been rendered ineffective by the change in formation.
There isn’t a room for a restricted winger in a group the place the gamers flanking the central striker are inside forwards and the 2 gamers offering width are each wing-backs. After spending years flitting between twin destinies as a striker and a large participant, Walcott beat the trail to quickest doable extinction when he selected the latter, at Arsenal a minimum of.
On Tuesday morning, experiences emerged that Everton have enquired about signing Walcott in January as Sam Allardyce tries to show their season round. West Ham and Southampton are additionally mentioned to be desirous about Arsenal’s longest-serving participant, who turns 29 in March. If that’s the case, there ought to be no equivocation from Arsene Wenger: it’s time to let Walcott depart.
Recouping switch charges might be a smart enterprise for a membership which goes to lose its two greatest and Most worthy gamers totally free on the finish of the season. Walcott is a veteran of 391 video games for Arsenal, one other 47 for his nation, and carries the English premium. There’s good resale potential there for Arsenal to understand and his extraordinarily restricted contribution to the trigger at current means there isn’t a motive to not money in subsequent month.
There ought to be no glee derived from this. Anybody who performs nearly 400 instances for a membership has carried out a useful service and Walcott has been nothing if not keen. He has tried exhausting to make a convincing profession on the membership and has three FA Cup wins to indicate for it. Though he solely performed in one in every of these finals, in opposition to Aston Villa in 2015, he did rating in it. If Walcott does depart in January, it’s going to have been a great Arsenal profession. Not excellent, however hardly a failure both.
Arsenal have vacillated in between these two states themselves since Walcott first arrived on the membership in January 2006, six months after the FA Cup win over Manchester United in 2005 which successfully marked the top of Wenger’s imperial age. Certainly, Walcott’s journey from transcendent younger promise to inconsistent and finally disappointing maturity has been mirrored by the membership within the post-Invincible period.
It isn’t Walcott’s fault that he and Arsenal got here to replicate one another so exactly. His flaws are a part of a wider sample of arrested improvement seen throughout the membership. Respectable questions may be requested about why no younger participant since Robin van Persie has been developed right into a world-class performer by Wenger. Whether or not by defective scouting or insufficient teaching, the provision line has damaged down. Walcott is hardly alone.
However current appointments off the pitch have signalled a need on Arsenal’s half to alter one thing across the membership. In January, they might make a extremely symbolic alteration to the enjoying workers too.
Tom is one in every of ESPN FC’s Arsenal bloggers. You possibly can observe him on Twitter @tomEurosport