Transfer news: Theo Walcott injury robs Arsenal of a 'complete player' but Arsene Wenger admits signing a replacement will be difficult

Walcott was ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a ruptured cruciate knee ligament but Wenger has accepted that bringing in a suitable replacement could prove difficult

Manager Arsene Wenger concedes Arsenal have lost a “complete player” in Theo Walcott, but admits it will be “very difficult” to bring in new signings during the notoriously tough January transfer market.

Walcott is set to be sidelined for six months after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage when making a defensive tackle in the FA Cup third-round win over Tottenham on Saturday.

The 24-year-old was a potent weapon in Arsenal's attack, offering a different dimension with the England forward having netted five goals since his return from a stomach injury.

Arsenal will now have to plan for the rest of the campaign without the electric pace of Walcott, but the imminent return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from his own five-month lay-off with a knee injury and the emergence of Serge Gnabry - said to have sparked interest from Borussia Dortmund - does at least provide Wenger with wide options.

Wenger, though, still needs cover for lead frontman Olivier Giroud, and is said to be keen on a loan deal for Real Madrid's promising 21-year-old Alvaro Morata, whose current first-team opportunities are limited at the Bernabeu. However, chances of pushing through a big-money transfer such as Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa at this time of the season are historically difficult.

"We lost a very talented player, a very intelligent player and a player who was just grabbing his form again," Wenger said.

"From game to game he became more influential, you have seen a complete player.

"He can always decide a game through a final ball or through a goal. Sometimes in the same game he does both."

Wenger accepted he faced a difficult conundrum of how best to strengthen the squad for the challenges ahead over the next six months.

"[Walcott's injury] has accelerated [transfer] speculation first and of course my desire as well - but let's not forget about Serge Gnabry who can play in the first team," the Arsenal manager added.

"We have Oxlade-Chamberlain back and we have many other players who can play on the flanks so to find better solutions than what we have internally will not be easy.

"Up front we lose Theo as a potential central forward and that's maybe where we have to look outside, but we hopefully have (Nicklas) Bendtner back in three weeks.

"We are there for the opportunities, but it is very difficult at the moment."

Walcott's loss is a major blow for both club and country, with the pacy forward set to have been a key part of England manager Roy Hodgson's plans in Brazil this summer.

Wenger, though, is confident Walcott's "balanced" personality can help recover fully from such a devastating setback.

"Theo is handling it as well as you can when you have had such a shock because he is mentally strong, is very balanced as a person and he can put it into perspective," Wenger said on Arsenal Player.

"We know that he will have the dedication and the serious attitude to come back as strong as ever."

PA

News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence