Arsenal winger Theo Walcott is reportedly set to attract a £20 million offer from Everton, who are said to be “confident of beating competition” from the likes of Southampton to land the Emirates Stadium outcast.
The Mirror‘s John Cross noted the figure the Toffees are willing to pay to sign the 28-year-old, who is also reported to be ready for a switch as he seeks a boost in Premier League playing time.
Walcott‘s contract is due to expire at the close of the 2018-19 season, meaning a sale this year will be the Gunners’ best opportunity to land a significant fee.
That’s particularly the case given his prominence at the Emirates has severely diminished this season, and The National recently contrasted his playing time against his Premier League peers, per ESPN’s Richard Jolly:
Walcott is yet to earn a Premier League start in five appearances this season but has shown his worth in the UEFA Europa League, where he’s scored three goals and recorded two assists in five outings.
That lack of chances has led former Arsenal defender Martin Keown to suspect manager Arsene Wenger no longer has a use for the player he signed from Southampton in January 2006, per a recent Daily Mail column:
“I’d be going through tremendous turmoil if I was him because if I can’t play, then there is no point in being at Arsenal. Wenger is quietly telling Walcott he no longer needs him by having not started him in a single Premier League game this season. Wenger can say what he wants publicly, but he’s telling him what he really thinks every week.”
Not only are Sam Allardyce’s side said to be willing to stump up £20 million, but Cross also noted the Toffees are also looking to meet Walcott‘s Arsenal salary, reported as being as high as £140,000 per week including bonuses.
BBC Sport’s David Ornstein referred to the fitness of striker Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud as being key to the deal:
Everton have already boosted their attacking ranks in January by signing Turkey international Cenk Tosun from Besiktas, although Kevin Mirallas‘ loan departure to Olympiakos means they have room out wide for a new face.
Wenger has shown preference for starting numerous other figures on the wing ahead of Walcott, regularly picking Welbeck in that role when fit.
The Nigeria international even made the Arsenal lineup in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final stalemate against Chelsea despite being caught in a controversy for being at a party before last weekend’s 4-2 FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest. Walcott was left on the bench against the Blues.
Many may suggest Arsenal should take the opportunity to make a good sum from Walcott‘s sale while they can, particularly given he’s struggled to feature this term, but Wenger is sure to have a big say in whether his player leaves.
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