Arsenal must resist transfer temptation after Walcott injury

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Even before Arsenal were hit with the devastating news that Theo Walcott will miss the rest of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, the need for a new striker was evident.

After injuries to Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner, Arsene Wenger was forced to play Walcott in a lead role against Tottenham Hotspur. He impressed, but as many know, despite Walcott's ambition to play in a central role, his small stature doesn't fit in with the Gunners style.

With Giroud injured,  Arsenal's lack of depth up top was exposed while Walcott's injury has only reinforced the argument that Wenger needs to take action in the January transfer window. But Arsenal fans should be careful what they wish for as transfers made half way through the season rarely make the intended impact.

Quality players seldom become available half way through the season and even when they do, it is usually for an inflated price.

A fine example is that of Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll. Torres had been in sensational form for Liverpool but had been showing signs of decline while also struggling with injuries before his move to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea still forked out a record breaking £50m for the Spaniard, much to the delight of Anfield chiefs. Although their business in response was worse, as they reinvested £35m in an unproven Andy Carroll, who went on to sign for West Ham for a net loss of £20m.

Goal scorers are the most valuable players on a pitch and only financial trouble or an outstanding offer could tempt a club to part with a prized asset in January.

So for Arsenal, instead of wasting time bidding for player's that won't want to move six months before a World Cup, they should start making plans for Walcott's absence.

It's an unfortunate situation but one that can be dealt with in-house.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Serge Gnabry will sense the opportunity to get more playing time and stake their claim in front of Walcott when he eventually does return.

Lukas Podolski is going to provide more cover up front as he returns from a hamstring tear as well.

Meanwhile Giroud and Bendtner will continue to fluctuate in form and fitness and Wenger will be hoping they can keep up their goalscoring exploits until he can do some proper business in the summer.

For now Wenger will have to rely on the creativity in midfield to keep Arsenal's title challenge going, knowing they are in as good a position as they ever could have hoped for after the opening day of the season.

Walcott's absence, coupled with another major injury could spell an end to the Gunners title hopes but that is just the hand Wenger has been dealt.

It's far from ideal, but Wenger is building a title-challenging squad. If they don't win it this season, they'll need the funds to strengthen when the right players become available. Scrambling around in an inflated, small market in the January transfer window will pay them no dividends and only harm their chances of sustaining a title challenge over the next two to three years.

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Theo Walcott
Premier League

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