Arsenal's Walcott set to miss World Cup due to injury
A crushing blow was laid on Arsenal's title challenge on Monday afternoon, as Theo Walcott has been ruled out for six months following an injury sustained against Tottenham in the Gunners' third round FA Cup win.
What initially looked like a rather innocuous challenge on the speedy England international turned out to be far worse than expected.
According to the official statement released by Arsenal:
"After coming off injured in Saturday's 2-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur, the Club regrettably announces that Theo Walcott has sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.
Theo will have surgery in London in the near future and is expected to be out for at least six months, therefore missing the remainder of the season and the World Cup in Brazil in the summer."
This is dire news for Arsenal and Theo Walcott going forward. For Walcott, this means that with now World Cup this year, the next World Cup he can be expected to be a part of the England squad for is in 2018. That means he will be 29 years old before he can show a follow-up performance to his 2006 World Cup appearance in Germany, at the tender age of 17.
With Arsene Wenger even explicitly stating that the January transfer window provides difficulty and had intentions of only finding a temporary solution to Arsenal's forward problem, this news about Walcott may force his hand.
With Nicklas Bendtner out for three to four weeks, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yaya Sanogo expected back but still in the hazy late stages of their recovery, and Olivier Giroud still recovering from a knock, Arsenal need solutions.
As it stands, the only current striking options available to Arsenal are Lukas Podolski, the man who gets lost up front, Park Chu-Young and Mesut Özil, in a False-9 role.
With Arsene Wenger's hand almost assuredly forced into the transfer market now, it only begs the question of who is available and who will he pursue.