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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
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

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering