The 28-year-old finds himself relegated to the bench for the Gunners’ Premier League fixtures, unable to forge his way into the starting line-up. For a player of whom much was expected, it’s a startling fall from grace.
Despite the imminent departures of Alexis Sanchez, 28, and Mesut Ozil, 29, Walcott cannot force himself into Arsene Wenger’s plans. Injuries badly interrupted his career, from a hereditary shoulder problem which required surgery to an anterior cruciate ligament damaged in the 2 – 0 FA Cup third round win over Tottenham in 2014.
However, Walcott still harbours England ambitions but has yet to feature in Gareth Southgate’s squads. With a hard-line being shown to other hopefuls, Walcott knows he must be playing first-team football on a regular basis if he is to play international football again.
The deal depends on the Gunners landing Paris St Germain’s Goncalo Guedes, 21, who is currently on loan with the high-flying Los Che. UEFA are investigating PSG for breaches of FFP regulations over the signings of Neymar Jr, 26, and Kylian Mbappe, 18.
Walcott is one of a growing number of first team squad members who will not begin talks with Arsenal while the club is in disarray.