According to reports in the UK press, Arsenal could already be planning for life without Theo Walcott.

Walcott is still yet to agree a new deal with the club, as financial terms and his preferred position on the pitch, continue to undermine negotiations. The Daily Telegraph has reported that the Gunners are now considering a move for Crystal Palace starlet Wilfried Zaha.

Apparently manager Arsene Wenger recently dispatched former assistant Pat Rice to assess Zaha's ability. Rice is likely to have been impressed, as Zaha has produced a number of sterling displays already this season.

The England Under-21 star has netted four goals in his last two matches and has added real flair and intelligence to the Palace attack.

What makes Zaha so promising is that as well as having an eye for goal and plenty of pace, typical attributes for a wide player, he also has a knack for creativity.

That's the kind of quality Wenger looks for first in a player and the 19-year-old fits the mould of the Frenchman's usual transfer targets. The ability to add something to possession play is something Walcott has never really developed.

He is therefore often a passenger when Arsenal shift the ball forwards with their trademark quick and incisive passing. Wenger prefers his wide players to act more as attacking midfielders, rather than traditional wingers, content to simply work the touchlines.

Zaha possesses the touch, passing range and most importantly, the movement to link-up better from wide areas. Arsenal do have other youngsters vying for time in the wide berths, including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi.

So any move for Zaha could certainly signal that Arsenal have given up trying to reach a fresh agreement with Walcott.

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