Assessing the Theo Walcott to Napoli rumours

Tuttosport has claimed that Rafael Benitez is targeting Arsenal winger and striker Theo Walcott to join him at Napoli.

Benitez seems to be linked with a different Premier League star on a daily basis at the moment, apparently using every single one of his Premier League contacts to give himself the chance to poach the best players from the best sides.

“We require another right sided second striker. We are closing in on someone in this area, but I can’t say anything more in order to avoid the asking price going up,” Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis told Football Italia.

However, rest easy Arsenal fans because there is not a lot going for this rumour because it simply doesn’t make much sense.

Walcott extended his Arsenal contract last season which raises the question of why he would bother doing that if he was going to leave this summer.

It suggests that the transfer to Napoli would be random, a spur of the moment type of decision and with the greatest respect to the Italian side, they are not the sort of team who could force Walcott into a move away from the Gunners.

It’s also a transfer which would dent Walcott’s reputation in the English game and possibly affect his chances of playing for the national team.

If he left England now, there would still be a big suggestion from Arsenal fans that they never saw the best of him or that he was never given the chance to prove he could play as an out and out centre forward for the club.

Serie A football is completely different to the Premier League and should Walcott struggle in Italy, there are plenty of talented young English wide men ready to take his place in Roy Hodgson’s senior England team.

Benitez did have quite a deep interest in Walcott during his Liverpool days, originally getting involved as a club trying to sign him from Southampton against Arsenal.

There were also numerous rumours surfacing towards the end of Benitez’s reign at Anfield over Walcott possibly making the move to Liverpool after he failed to hit the ground running with his move to North London.

However, things are completely different now and there is no value in Walcott changing from Arsenal to Napoli.

The transfer would be even more bizarre following the recent comments of Ivan Gazidis over the potential financial power and strength Arsenal have which could pay off big time over the next two to three seasons.

Arsenal are under more pressure than ever before to deliver silverware but Arsene Wenger deserves a little bit of credit, especially after how hard he fought to get Walcott to sign that contract extension to the summer of 2016.

What do you make of the rumours? Has Walcott ever stopped thinking about leaving the club?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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