Sunday 18 March 2018

Allardyce admits he has his sights set on Walcott

Everton are in talks with Arsenal for winger Theo Walcott
Everton are in talks with Arsenal for winger Theo Walcott

Everton manager Sam Allardyce believes Arsenal winger Theo Walcott can be a key figure in the plan to improve his side's attacking options.

Talks have opened with the Gunners over a potential £20million deal for the 28-year-old, who has only 18 months remaining on his contract.

The England international has made just 15 appearances this season but has not made a Premier League start since April.

Allardyce sees a move to Goodison as a chance for Walcott to reignite his faltering career.

"I think you are all aware of our interest in Theo. If that is possible to get over the line I'd be delighted," said Allardyce, who has already strengthened his forward line with the purchase of £28m Beskitas striker Cenk Tosun.

"Obviously there are negotiations that are happening at the moment and if that can all be sorted out - one of the most difficult things to do today - then that would be a great addition in my opinion to come and join us from an attacking point of view.

"Two or three reasons really: goalscoring threat, pace, experience and he's good on assists from wide areas in terms of his crossing ability.

"Theo's not as risky (as Tosun) because he's proven. He's scored 100 goals for Arsenal from wide positions as well as many assists.

"His pace is one of his key strengths, which we lack in this squad. His assists are pretty good as well as his goals.

"We are short of goals so to add power in our goalscoring ability would be very important for me if we can negotiate that transfer - and he's only 28.

"I wouldn't have thought a player today would have any qualms about where he moves now if he is moving for his career.

"I wouldn't think he had that mentality that it was not the right place to go to get first-team football. It's 'Have boots, will travel' now isn't it?

"I don't think there's any chance of a loan so I think it is a permanent deal we're hoping to negotiate. It is not imminent at the moment but some negotiations are going on."

Walcott is now Everton's primary target but that is likely to mean a number of fringe players are moved on.

Allardyce has frequently remarked on how bloated the squad is and he is willing to listen to offers for a number of players.

"There is a big squad and moving players out is essential to bringing more players in," said the Toffees boss.

"It is essential we trim down the squad if we are to bring in players and adjust the balance of the squad and adjust the numbers.

"There are a number of players who are not satisfied at the position they are in at the moment - it's only natural to say that when they are not getting a regular game or even getting on the bench.

"We'd be open to some negotiations for some of our players - we've had a number of enquiries from other clubs but none have hit what our valuation might be."

Tosun is set for his debut against Tottenham at Wembley tomorrow having signed a week ago but Allardyce admits he has taken a gamble bringing in the Turkey international in January.

"It is not easy at all, it might not work. It is a massive problem in terms of you are hoping rather than being guaranteed he hits the ground running," said the Toffees boss.

"When you look at the number of players who have been brought into this country from abroad - even in the summer - and not worked, particularly up front, it is a risk."

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