Arsene Wenger has spoken out over the six-month absence of his accomplished Gunner, while touching on Arsenal transfer speculation.
Even before Arsenal star winger/forward Theo Walcott ruptured the anterior ligament in his knee there was intense transfer speculation linking manager Arsene Wenger to some of the hottest strikers in world football.
Since the opening of the mid-season transfer window, the Gunners have been press-linked with Bayern Munich attacker Mario Mandzukic, Porto superstar Jackson Martinez, Real Madrid fringe forward Alvaro Morata, Atletico Madrid animal Diego Costa, Manchester United workhorse Wayne Rooney, Manchester City front-man Edin Dzeko and even Fulham forward Dimitar Berbatov.
With Walcott now out, compounding an injury situation where Nicklas Bendtner is also sidelined while Olivier Giroud has been battling illness and Lukas Podolski is stepping-up his full training schedule after his own injury return, those rumours are now relentless - and will not have been helped by Wenger's latest comment.
'[Walcott’s injury] has accelerated speculation first and of course my desire as well,' admitted the Frenchman on the club's official website.
Regardless of whether the club pursue a short-term solution like Berbatov, or a long-term fit like Martinez or Costa, all would likely be a welcome addition to a side competitively-placed to challenge on three fronts: in the Premier League as they are currently placed first, in the FA Cup where a fourth round versus Coventry awaits and in the Champions League where they face last season's winners - Bayern Munich.
Rather than announce to the whole of Europe that he is, indeed, looking for a striker and potentially risking exorbitant transfer fees as a result, Wenger did add a caveat to fans expecting a signing to be announced in the coming weeks.
'Let's not forget about Serge Gnabry who can play in the first team [and] we have Oxlade-Chamberlain back and we have many other players who can play on the flanks so to find better solutions than what we have internally will not be easy.'
Wenger specifically mentions though that it is up front where, if he did enter the market, he would recruit: 'We lose Theo as a potential central forward and that's maybe where we have to look outside. But we hopefully have Bendtner back in three weeks. We are there for the opportunities but it's very difficult at the moment.'