How Arsenal teen Gnabry could put a nail in Walcott's coffin
While Gunners await the return of Wilshere another young star could be about to emerge
JACK WILSHERE will not make his Arsenal comeback against Schalke in the Champions League tonight, but the latest prodigy to roll off the Emirates production line could get the chance to shine.
Serge Gnabry, the 17-year-old German attacker who made his Premier League debut in Arsenal's capitulation at Carrow Road on Saturday, is expected to be in the squad for the match thanks to injuries to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, the man whose destiny he could control, if reports from the Emirates are to be believed.
Gnabry, it is being said, is being lined up as a replacement for Walcott and if he does play against Schalke and puts in a good performance, it could be another nail in Walcott's Arsenal coffin.
Walcott is the Gunners' great enigma and his career appears to be approaching a crossroads. He has so far refused to sign a new deal with Arsenal, even though his current contract runs out next summer. Juventus are one of several suitors believed to be interested in him.
There have also been rumours that Arsene Wenger may decide to finally wash his hands of the frustrating winger, who has consistently failed to fulfill his potential in his time with Arsenal. And that is where Gnabry comes into the equation, as he is a ready-made replacement.
"Wenger has been impressed with Gnabry’s versatility - he can play anywhere across midfield and further forward - and is keen to integrate the Germany youth international into the senior team as soon as possible," reported the London Evening Standard this week. "Gnabry's emergence is another factor the club are ready to use to ensure Walcott does not hold them to ransom over his new contract."
The Gunners boss certainly seems to believe in the youngster. "He is in the category of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott - guys who have great power, great pace and good dribbling skills," he told the Arsenal website last month. "He has goalscoring potential and good vision as well for the final ball. He can play centrally behind the striker or on the flanks."