Wednesday 15 August 2018

Everton to make £20 million January bid for Theo Walcott after forward's latest Arsenal snub

Theo Walcott of Arsenal. Photo: Getty
Theo Walcott of Arsenal. Photo: Getty

Matt Law

Everton are poised to make a £20 million bid for Theo Walcott, following the forward’s latest Arsenal snub.

Walcott was left on the bench for Arsenal’s Carabao Cup goalless draw with Chelsea, even though Alex Iwobi broke club rules by partying ahead of the FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Despite promising Iwobi would be punished, Wenger started the 21 year-old ahead of Walcott for the trip to Chelsea and also preferred Danny Welbeck to him after deciding to relegate Alexis Sanchez to the substitutes’ bench.

Sanchez, who Arsenal are growing resigned to losing this month, stepped off the bench, but Walcott was once again a spectator. That has increased the chances of Walcott ending his 12-year stay at Arsenal this month and Everton are currently in pole position, ahead of Southampton, to land the England international.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would prefer Walcott to stay at the Emirates, but could be prepared to let him go if Welbeck remains fit and Olivier Giroud does not suffer an injury setback.

Everton hope that an offer in the region of £20m will be enough to tempt Wenger into selling, while they are also ready to match Walcott’s £110,000-a-week Arsenal wages.

Having signed striker Cenk Tosun, Everton manager Sam Allardyce wants to add pace to his attack and believes Walcott could reignite his career at Goodison Park. Allardyce also thinks he can give Walcott the chance to make a late run to try to force his way into England’s World Cup squad, however unlikely that may currently seem.

Walcott is yet to start a Premier League game this season and has seen himself left out of Wenger’s match-day squad entirely when the Frenchman has had all of his attackers to pick from.

During his 12 years with the club, 28-year-old Walcott has scored 108 goals for Arsenal and has made 47 appearances for England, scoring eight times.

Southampton are also prepared to offer Walcott the chance to go back to the club where he started his career, but the Saints would have to convince him to join a relegation fight.

Wenger defended his decision to play Iwobi so soon after he broke club rules, but the move sparked criticism from former Arsenal striker Ian Wright. Speaking to Sky Sports, Wright said: “In the current climate, for a young player to go out and do that with Arsenal going through what they’re going through now - experienced players wanting to leave, there’s no leadership - Arsene Wenger should have made a better stance on this. A stronger stance.

“Because Arsenal have got to find what we are losing at the moment. People laugh at us - they see it as a bit of a joke with what’s going on at the moment - players don’t want to be there. It just feels like we are losing control.

“What’s it saying to Theo? He’s got a youngster that’s gone out less than 48 hours before the game, still plays in that game, plays in this game and you can’t get a game in front of him. You’ve got to start thinking about your own future.”

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