Theo Walcott is edging closer to contention for Arsenal’s starting lineup for the first time since injuring himself against Tottenham in February.
At 66/1, he remains the third-shortest Gunner in the Premier League top-goalscorer betting despite being expected to return to the fray no earlier than September 20.
Upon his arrival at that long-awaited destination Arsene Wenger will have little choice but to let the myriad attacking talents at his disposal know exactly where they stand in his affections.
The pecking order hinges on these key questions…
Is Theo Walcott an automatic pick in the current Arsenal attacking quartet?
The short answer is no. His favoured positions are among the most fiercely-contested at the club.
Fledgling £35m Gunner Alexis Sanchez is lording it over the Englishman’s right-sided berth.
Dropping him at this stage would be dangerous for the Chilean’s morale and development as a Premier League practitioner.
Walcott’s preference has always supposedly been to play as a central striker, but apparently it’s a proclivity Alexis shares.
Whether either of them can make their position their own in the absence of Olivier Giroud is a moot point after the purchase of Danny Welbeck.
While the former Manchester United man had played on the left-wing for the club that raised him he’s unlikely to be happy to continue playing out of position, while Mesut Ozil’s nominal berth is also on the west wing.
Which brings us neatly to the second question Wenger must answer for himself in establishing his attacking hierarchy.
Is Wenger concerned with balance above crowbarring his big names onto the teamsheet?
If so, the possibility of shunting Ozil from his mooring on the port side must be considered.
In doing so Wenger might emulate the exceptional equilibrium displayed by Swansea City, for whom the speed and goalscoring nous of Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer on either wing offer so much manoeuvrability.
Playing the Welbeck at the widest attacking points of a 4-2-3-1 compass would allow him to do so while preserving Ozil’s role in the XI.
The German could slot in a number ten behind Sanchez, who would be given his chance to prove himself as a centre-forward once and for all.