With Nuri Sahin still not quite signed just yet, the rumour mill has chugged its way towards another player in Spain coming Arsenal’s way.
A prodigious winger who has been linked a bunch of times to North London, Jesus Navas is a skilled, pacy architect of chances.
He hits a bloody good daisy-cutter cross and makes up ground in clever, pacey strides. Not quite as quick as Walcott (who is?), he more than makes up for it with brains and incisive runs.
The potential signing would make Arsenal a distinctly Spanish outfit with Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla near-permanent fixtures in midfield. The understanding between Cazorla and Navas in particular would see plenty of balls over the top and into space for Navas to run for.
Whether there is much truth in the rumours is another issue entirely. In some perverse universe, perhaps they’ve been fabricated and leaked from someone connected to Arsenal as a smokescreen for other signings.
But what it does scream out is that Theo Walcott’s time at Arsenal is ticking away. With no contract extension signed and a very ordinary performance under his belt against Sunderland, the warning bells are ringing from both sides of the fence.
If the contract delay is on Walcott’s part, then he’s clearly a little miffed with the departures of Robin van Persie and Alex Song. There’s also a good chance that hanging around the England national camp has made him think his wage should be higher than it currently is.
Even if he has acknowledged his “consistency in patches” last season, we’ve heard nothing to suggest from the player or coaches that his mentality is about to change.
Against Sunderland – a team that sat back and set up a defensive shop – Walcott’s pace was totally negated and it looked like that alone left him short of ideas. Unable to regularly cut inside at dangerous angles, and seemingly afraid to beat his man on the outside, Walcott’s lack of variety in his game is now criminal.
A failure to bulk up sufficiently has seen him ignored for his favoured central forward position, and even when found in similar positions in open play, his scoring boots have deserted him when we all clearly know he has the potential to be one of the league’s best finishers.
I see no coincidence in the Navas rumours emerging as the Theo’s contract wrangle continues. It should also be noted that of the two major players who have left Arsenal, both of their departures sparked more worry for Arsenal fans than the potential loss of Theo.
If the worst happens and Walcott does indeed depart (Chelsea? Liverpool? Inter?), it will signal one of the most emphatic clear-outs under Wenger’s reign.
A clear-out, I hope, that is as much to do with mental ability and attitude as it is to do with personnel.