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Former Prem striker: Walcott return will be like a new signing

The Arsenal star missed much of last season, as well as the World Cup, and Arsene Wenger will be eager to get him involved in the Gunners' new look attack.

Former West Ham and Southampton striker Iain Dowie has claimed the return to fitness of Theo Walcott will feel like a new signing to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

The ex Crystal Palace manager, who played for Northern Ireland in the 1990s, was speaking about his excitement at the prospect of Alexis Sanchez joining up with the Gunners, when he stopped to highlight several players that were missing for large spells last season, with Walcott at the forefront of his thoughts.

"Arsenal fans will be licking their lips if they can do one or two others [transfers]," Dowie told Sky Sports. "They could be special.

"Don't forget, Theo Walcott back will be a huge boost.

"I watched Arsenal late last season, and Ramsey, Ozil were fit, as was Wilshere, and they were a huge difference. They missed all of them for a massive part of the season, I still think the season could have been different last year."

Arsenal forward Walcott suffered a devastating cruciate ligament injury against Tottenham in the FA Cup, forcing him to miss the rest of the season as well as England's disastrous World Cup campaign in Brazil.

Up until that point, the 25-year-old had come back from an abdominal injury to display some excellent form.

Walcott only made 18 appearances last season, but put in some exciting performances in the short time he was available, scoring 6 goals and providing 7 assists.

This came off the back of his strongest season at the Gunners in 2012-13, where he netted an impressive 21 goals in 43 games.

Walcott is set to form part of an exciting new attacking lineup at Arsenal once he returns to fitness, with many wondering where Alexis Sanchez is set to feature in a team full of attacking talent such as the Englishman, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, not to mention Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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