Arsene Wenger has to move now for a new striker.
Victory against the old enemy and progression in the FA Cup at the weekend came at a cost for the Gunners.
Manager Arsene Wenger faces a number of big decisions in the coming weeks after results of a scan yesterday revealed that Theo Walcott will be out for between six and nine months after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.
Walcott had only just returned from injury that kept him out of the side for two months until December and had been in fine form, picking up where he left off last season scoring five goals in five games prior to the FA Cup clash with Spurs.
Walcott also got his big chance to play in the central striker role for the Gunners on Saturday and had impressed throughout the game before being taken off injured. It was clear that the English winger has the ability and potential to play as a centre-forward and he functioned very well there throughout the game, creating a number of very good chances that were very close to undoing Spurs.
Not only will Walcott be missing out the remainder of the Premier League season but also sadly the World Cup this summer with England which will also come as a blow for national team boss Roy Hodgson.
Perhaps the only crumb of comfort for Arsenal fans is that this massive injury blow could be the decisive factor in Arsene Wenger’s plans for the January transfer window – prior to the game at the weekend, the boss had been somewhat coy on whether he would be bringing in a striker to held ease the burden on Olivier Giroud who missed Saturday’s game with illness.
Injury to Nicklas Bendtner in their 2-0 win over Cardiff on New Years Day means that Arsenal are heavily reliant on the fitness and form of Giroud as well as the only recently returned Lukas Podolski to lead the line.
Wenger seemed more inclined to target a ‘stopgap’ signing rather than a big marquee signing in January when he met with the press last week but this injury to Walcott, who provides not only goals but pace, width and creativity to the team, may give the French boss the impetus to go out and get a top forward in the January transfer window to compensate.
Arsenal have been linked with the likes of Diego Costa and Pedro in recent weeks from La Liga and and I wouldn’t be surprised if Wenger perhaps returned his attention to a player who can play either up front as a lone striker or on the flanks.
Perhaps even a player like Marco Reus would interest him now and certainly FC Porto frontman Jackson Martinez will given that he's issued a 'come and get me' plea only last week.
Prior to Walcott’s injury I was fairly sure Wenger would not repeat his summer spending on Mesut Ozil by bringing in a player worth over £20 million in January but now, with Walcott out as well as Bendtner, I’m almost certain he will – after all he’d be jeopardising the title if he doesn’t.