Liverpool are a side desperately in need of a few high quality signings this summer, players who can walk into the first eleven and help the club to challenge for the top four. Liverpool are a side desperately in need of adding goals, with Daniel Sturridge’s future unclear and the rest of Liverpool’s strikers not good enough. Which means it must be time for some rumours linking the club to middle-of-the-road English retreads.
Because there’s nothing like kicking a someone who’s down, the Express today are pushing forward with a new series of Theo Walcott rumours. The added twist this time is that they’ve thrown on an extra layer of "Liverpool dumpster dive for a bigger club’s castoff after they've gone out and got somebody better." That’s because Liverpool getting Walcott is, as the rumour goes, going to be dependant on Arsenal picking up Pedro from Barcelona first.
Arsenal get the player they want—and a player it has at times been rumour that Liverpool also rather want—and ship the one they don’t much need any longer to their not-quite-rivals for the top four, feeling comfortable and confident that doing so won’t especially improve Liverpool’s chances of making it back into the Champions League and in the process hurt their own chances of keeping their place in Europe’s most lucrative club competition.
Following a 14-goal 2012-13 league season, injuries have thoroughly derailed Walcott’s career, and this season the 26-year-old has yet to play a full 90 minutes as he continues to try to work his way back from a ruptured ACL. For a player almost wholly reliant on speed, it’s the kind of injury that can kill a career, and Arsenal being content to ship him off to Liverpool would really say it all about whether they believe he will ever get back to his best.
Even at his best, though, Walcott was a limited player. Even at his best, many rated him a talented but one-dimensional speed-merchant. Now, largely without that speed and unable to last 90 minutes, he would be a signing to confirm Liverpool’s rightful place was outside the top four. Its appearance would be that of a capitulation signing by a Liverpool side that this summer need to show intent and, belatedly, replace Luis Suarez.
In five of the last six seasons, Liverpool have ended up outside of the Champions League places. While some fans might work hard and ultimately find a way to try to spin the signing of Walcott as a positive, for most, pursuing a broken-down retread from a top four side who have gone out and gotten themselves a better replacement would be nothing short of a signal the club believe fighting for the Europa League places really is where they belong.
Hopefully, then, when it comes to a player like Walcott—or like the ridiculously overpriced Christian Benteke, who Aston Villa want £30M for—it’s just the rumour mongers spinning stories and not a reflection of the club’s actual summer aspirations.