John Hartson: I'd swap Theo Walcott for Raheem Sterling at Arsenal

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Former Arsenal striker John Hartson has encouraged Arsene Wenger to consider selling Theo Walcott to fund a move for Raheem Sterling this summer after suggesting that the Liverpool forward is a bigger impact player.

The retired talisman was asked by a Gunners supporter on social media website Kicca whether he would swap the 26-year-old for the talented Anfield winger, to which he replied positively and claimed the Reds ace is among the best young English players in the country.

Sterling has been heavily linked with a move away from Merseyside in recent weeks after appearing to stall on negotiations regarding a lucrative new £100,000-a-week contract.

Some Liverpool supporters have grown frustrated at the player's refusal to commit his future to the club, but the fleet-footed forward remains unwilling to open talks until the end of the season.

With two years still to run on his existing deal, it's not like Brendan Rodgers is in desperate need of the 20-year-old putting pen to paper, but it would at least bring an end to the rumours regarding a possible exit.

Arsene Wenger has previously been credited with an interest in bringing Sterling to the Emirates Stadium, and Hartson's latest comments are likely to fuel speculation even further ahead of the summer transfer window.

“I think Sterling is a bigger impact player, who makes things happen more on the pitch than Walcott does,” he said. 

“He excites you when he gets on the ball, a lot of the time on the ball he makes things happen, he's had to take a leading role for Liverpool this season and played in so many different positions.

"He's arguably one of the best young players, one of England's best - if not the best - and Wenger likes to get young players and nurture them.

"But I like Walcott and I think he will sign a new contract #arsenaltalk."

Sterling has continued to perform well for Liverpool despite the continued distraction regarding his ongoing contract saga, and was yesterday named on the PFA Young Player of the Year shortlist for 2015 as recognition for his fine individual season.

The Three Lions ace has contributed 11 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions this season, the most recent of those coming in Monday's 2-0 victory over Newcastle United which moved the Reds back up to fifth place in the Premier League table.

Walcott, by comparison, spent the early part of the season sidelined by injury and has struggled to break back into the Arsenal side since returning to fitness, managing just 13 appearances and three goals across the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.

Arsenal fans: Who do you think is the better player - Theo Walcott or Raheem Sterling? Have your say in the comment box below and explain the reason why!

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Raheem Sterling
Premier League
Theo Walcott

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