Arsenal fans are understandably getting a little excited, even if they're trying their hardest not to, about the potential arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona. But spare a thought for Theo Walcott, who must surely be secretly praying that Manchester United or Liverpool snap up the £32 million-rated Chile international this summer.
Sanchez's arrival could be catastrophic for the England international because, of course, he plays in the same position - out on the right flank. Walcott, despite what some people will have you believe, is not and never will be a centre-forward. The only time he looks assured in that position is when Newcastle United come to town with their sub-standard back-four in tow.
Sanchez: Better than Walcott
Walcott is a fantastic winger in his own right. There's a reason why Arsenal handed the 25-year-old a £100,000-a-week deal in January 2013. But a better player than Sanchez? No chance.
Last season, the Chilean scored 21 goals and provided 15 assists in 54 matches for the Catalan giants. In fact, he was probably Barcelona's best player behind Lionel Messi, who didn't perform significantly better than the lively winger over the course of the 2013/14 campaign.
Sanchez can - and does - make things happen against any set of opponents. He's used to the biggest occasions club football has to offer and is certainly no shrinking violet. He steps up when it matters most - and this is why he falls into the world-class category.
Walcott, on the other hand, is a class below.
Alexis Sanchez: Scout report
Could Walcott and Sanchez play together?
As stated earlier, Walcott isn't a centre-forward. Admittedly, he is clinical in certain situations, but it takes more than good finishing for a forward to flourish in a system with only one striker. The ability to hold the ball up and bring teammates into play is crucial, which is why there's no real danger of Walcott replacing Olivier Giroud as the club's first-choice centre-forward.
One possibility, in order for Walcott and Sanchez to be on the pitch together at the same time, is for Arsene Wenger to deploy the latter on the left flank. It would certainly make Arsenal extremely dangerous on the counter-attack, but would the Gunners get the best out of the player by playing him in an unfavoured position?
And where would that leave Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere or Aaron Ramsey? They can't all fit into the starting line-up.
Could Walcott leave Arsenal?
The idea of Walcott leaving Arsenal isn't that improbable. After all, he came close to quitting the Gunners before he finally put pen-to-paper on his lucrative new deal 18 months ago. His current contract expires in 2016, which means he would be available for a relatively decent price this time next year.
Wenger won't want to lose Walcott. But if Sanchez is settled and performing to the best of his ability at the Emirates Stadium, few Arsenal supporters would shed too many tears if he was to leave.
Is there a better way to include Walcott and Sanchez in the same line-up? Tell us how in the comments section below.
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