West Ham have reportedly identified Arsenal forward Theo Walcott as a possible summer target and are lining up an audacious bid for the 28-year-old.
That’s according to recent reports in the Mirror, who suggest that the Englishman is frustrated by his lack of minutes with the Gunners and, after featuring far less during the latter part of last season, has begun considering his future.
It’s possible that Walcott may seek a new challenge in his attempts to get back into Gareth Southgate’s England squad ahead of next summer’s World Cup, though a lucrative move to one of Arsenal’s Premier League rivals would not guarantee him any more regular playing time than he gets at Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger’s tactical change to a 3-4-2-1 has seen Walcott’s influence limited. Even though the boss has admitted he could still revert back to his preferred 4-2-3-1 occasionally, it’s not a guarantee that Walcott would start regularly on the wing.
Should he be interested in a move to east London, it’s likely that Slaven Bilic will be able to offer first-team assurances although we were tracking a story that appeared some weeks ago suggesting Walcott should move to West Ham. We were expecting stories to start appearing on the back of that. That being the case, it’s hard to know how much truth there is to West Ham’s reported interest.
Walcott’s people have already been in touch with us regarding a recent story that claimed he had returned to the gym early to try and nail down a starting place at Arsenal. They stated this was not true.
Walcott is a player that has divided opinion among Arsenal supporters for a number of seasons and he may feel as though it is the time for a career change, with less pressure involved and more of an opportunity to shine as a key man.
He netted 19 goals and created two assists across all competitions last season despite only one start since Wenger’s tactical change.
With 10 goals in the Premier League, he notched more than the likes of Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini and would undoubtedly improve West Ham in the final third, though it remains to be seen whether Arsenal would accept a £25m bid.
Or if Walcott would want to leave.