With just two months left of the Premier League season, the Liverpool transfer rumour mill is in full flow – and Arsenal forward Theo Walcott is the latest player to be linked with a move to Merseyside.
The 26-year-old has just 15 months left on his current deal with the Gunners, and there are suggestions that a lack of game time since a return from a long-term injury this season is putting Walcott off signing a new deal with Arsenal.
A typical Liverpool striker for the Reds boss is pacy and dynamic, with a fine understanding of space and the intelligent movement to match.
This is why Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge have thrived so much in this role under Rodgers’ management.
Walcott would offer similar qualities to Sterling and Sturridge – with his searing pace and keen sense of timing with his runs making him a devastating forward option for Arsene Wenger.
Furthermore, Walcott expressed a desire to play in a more central role at Arsenal on the signing of his current contract with the club in 2013, claiming: ‘Playing up front is important. It’s one of the main factors for me…I signed as a striker. I’ve learnt my trade out on the wing.’
This want for a positional conversion bore echoes of that of Thierry Henry under Wenger, and Walcott proved his credentials with 14 goals in 32 Premier League games that season.
In theory, Walcott would provide Rodgers with another finisher to the squad, as well as a lightning-fast forward option, able to rotate in wide and central roles with Sterling and Sturridge.
Arguably, he would be more suited to Liverpool’s style than, say, Adam Lallana.
However, there are, of course, stumbling blocks in any potential deal for the 36-cap England man – and these revolve around his current issues with Arsenal.
Firstly, Walcott is miserably injury prone, with 42 separate injuries in his nine-year spell with the north London club.
Furthermore, Walcott’s current Arsenal wage of a reported £100,000 per week would also be an issue, despite the forward tenuously feted as a potential replacement for Sterling.
Sterling is currently locked in contract talks with Liverpool, with demands of between £100,000 and £150,000 per week.
The addition of Walcott to the squad would impose a similar outlay for Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group, but they must consider which is a more valuable asset.
Walcott would be a positive signing for Liverpool this summer, but he must not become a bargaining chip amid a wrangle to secure Sterling’s long-term future.