By Phil Van Dyke
All this talk lately about Raheem Sterling coming to The Emirates this summer. I'm not sold. Yeah, he's pretty fast. And maybe he's carried the Reds of Merseyside during patches of the Sturridge-less season. Big whoop. Is it because we have somehow gotten tired of our own card-carrying youthful speedster, Walcott? Maybe tired isn't right. More like wondering if we'll ever see him on the pitch and consistently be effective like Sterling (7 goals and one assist in 30 games is consistent, right?)? Wondering if he'll ever gel with the increasingly cohesive band of brothers in Alexis-Giroud-Ozil-Cazorla (Sterling couldn't be more at-ease with the Suarez-shaped gap, and the hide-and-seek Sturridge, right?)? Or if he'll ever track back? Or make a higher percentage of critical shots? If Walcott flies away without being displaced by the young 20-year-old, who will get behind the defense for Ozil's eye-of-the-needle through passes? Couldn't be Alexis? The Ox? Welbz? Bellerin? None of them is very fast, right?
You just wonder how Sterling could really help hone the attack for next year's push for serious silver. Speed we've got. In spades. Finishing ability. Check. Youth. Double check. Is he better than Walcott, pound for English pound? Perhaps (statistically not really according to squawka.com). He's not the most consistent, either, but somehow he does seem more refined already. Though did you see his point blank miss in front of net against Newcastle this afternoon?! That's not a confidence booster. Nor will it be a bank account booster in his on-going negotiations with LFC.
Walcott has shone on the pitch. He can glide through defenders and find the elusive gaps when we need them the most. Except when he doesn't. What it boils down to for me is that if Arsenal replace one young Englishmen with this other one, will he find those elusive gaps more consistently?
I don't believe he will. And the extra $20M or whatever insanity the Liverpudlians want in excess of the trade could be used much more effectively to obtain greater GKs or CBs. Or send Coutinho, instead.