Inhaling various smokes and gasses aside, Raheem Sterling is currently playing by the Theo Walcott rulebook.
Having emerged as a fleet-footed right winger with a bloated reputation for goalscoring, the Liverpool flyer is currently proving quite a slippery customer to nail down to a new contract at Anfield, believing he deserves a substantial pay rise for his efforts over the past three seasons.
Back in 2013, England’s original profligate winger was making Arsenal sweat under similar circumstances.
Walcott was bobbing and weaving, ducking and diving around the Gunners’ offer of a new deal, hoping to leverage a promise of playing up front more often out of any negotiations.
Eventually, the former Southampton youth put pen to paper without the ridiculous guarantee of a role through the middle and has one year left on that deal.
The ticking clock on that contract has alerted Brendan Rodgers to the possibility of filling Sterling’s potentially vacant boots with the player’s prototype at Anfield.
These pages have already indicated that swapping Sterling for Walcott would be a beneficial move for the 11/2 top-four hopefuls, although that was working on the basis that the two could be directly exchanged.
With neither player yet to embark on negotiations over new deals that is still a possibility, although the Gunners seemingly face stern competition from the rest of the Premier League’s elite for Sterling’s services.
Unlike Sterling’s career, Walcott’s has stalled somewhat following a string of injuries. The 26-year-old now finds himself behind both Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck in Arsene Wenger’s pecking order to fill the flanks and could see Liverpool as a chance for more regular game time.
Should he make the switch it’s possible that the Stanmore native will still be denied a role up front, with Daniel Sturridge the first choice in that department. Instead the Gunners number 14 is likely to have to learn how to play as a wing back.
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