After a decent start to what appeared to be a title-challenging season for the Gunners, Walcott has become a bit-part player as Arsenal inevitably fell off the pace in the title race.
After defiantly stating that he wanted to be Arsenal’s out-and-out goalscorer, Walcott has netted just twice in the Premier League since the turn of the year, taking his tally for the campaign to five.
Despite his drop in form, Theo Walcott has a keen admirer in incoming manager, Pep Guardiola. The current Bayern Munich has requested for Manchester City scouts to monitor Walcott’s situation closely as he faces a crossroads in his career at Emirates Stadium.
Walcott, as Arsenal’s longest serving player, would naturally find it very difficult to leave the Gunners having joined the club aged 16 and is not believed to be actively seeking a transfer at this stage.
The England International is however, amongst a number of players who have become increasing frustrated by the way in which Arsene Wenger employs his talents; Theo Walcott often starts from the bench, even in recent weeks where the team’s performances have dipped alarmingly.
Walcott last started a competitive game for Arsenal on February 28th and despite being a senior member of the squad, Theo has had few opportunities to influence Arsenals fortunes – the gunners have won just three of their last nine Premier League games as the title has slipped from their grasp.
Walcott has disappointed Arsenal fans in a series of brief appearances from the bench and after an act of self-preservation, found himself the target of fierce fan criticism on social media
— AFCPressWatch™ (@AFCPressWatch) April 24, 2016
The acute loss of form has led to serious doubts over whether Walcott will be taken to France as part of England’s Euro 2016 squad.
If he misses out, his future at the Emirates would certainly be in doubt. It’s understood that talks are planned for the season’s conclusion. His employers currently hold all the cards, given that he signed a four-year extension last summer.
The winger’s £140,000-a-week wage certainly wouldn’t be an issue for Guardiola’s Manchester City, who are keen to boost their roster of English players as they scramble to meet Uefa regulations regarding homegrown talent.
City may yet be Walcott’s salvation.
Guardiola has apparently been a fan of Walcott since 2010, where his blistering pace was the last memory of game-changing substitute performance against the Spaniard’s Barcelona side in the Champions League.
Barca were leading 2-0 when Walcott came on during the second half, scoring the Gunner’s first goal and terrorising Pep’s backline before Cesc Fabregas later equalised from the penalty spot.
Famously after the game:
“…he (Walcott) was one of the most dangerous players I have ever played against.”
Given the on-going struggles Walcott has experienced at Arsenal, it would be no great surprise to see him depart the Emirates in the summer in favour of pastures new, after more than a decade at the club.
Arsenal will be reluctant to sell their once-prodigal son, but City have more than enough money to tempt them with a bumper offer… it’s a matter of how much Pep wants Theo Walcott.