Everton head to the capital this weekend to take on Tottenham Hotspur, but it’s another North London team that the Blues have their eye on. During the pre-match press conference today, manager Sam Allardyce confirmed that the Blues were in negotiations with Arsenal for forward Theo Walcott.
The 28-year-old has been linked with a move away from the Emirates after being pushed to the fringes of the squad, with his former team Southampton once in pole position for the player. However, it appears his wages have been a sticking point and the Blues are leading contenders now.
“I think you’re all aware of our interest in Theo. If that’s possible to get over the line then I’d be delighted.
”But there’s negotiations that are happening at the moment. If that can be all sorted out, which is the most difficult thing to do today, then that would be a great addition in my opinion to come and join us in an attacking sense.”
Asked if he was optimistic that the deal could done soon, he added -
“I don’t get optimistic, otherwise I get disappointed!
”We will wait and see. I’ll be very excited and enthused once somebody, if it’s not Theo then somebody else, has actually signed on the dotted line. In this window or in any window, you don’t get too optimistic because so many things can happen in such a short space of time.
”He is (the only target) at the moment. It’s called ‘one at a time’!”
Allardyce has been impressed by Walcott’s track record and feels he would fit well with what he’s trying to do to improve Everton’s attack.
“Theo is not as risky, 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, and is what we lack in this squad. His assists and goals are pretty good, and we are short of goals. To add power in our goalscoring ability would be very important, if we can negotiate that transfer. And he’s only 28.”
In an apparent dig at Walcott’s Arsenal teammate Olivier Giroud who turned down a move to Merseyside over the summer as he didn’t want to leave London, Allardyce said -
“I wouldn’t have thought a player today would have any qualms about where he’d move, if it improves his career I wouldn’t have thought they’d have a mentality about ‘that’s not the right place to go’.
”If it’s about first-team football then it’s ‘have boots will travel’ isn’t it? Foreign players move all over the world now, so one of our British players moving up the road shouldn’t be a problem!”
- Quotes courtesy of Liverpool Echo
Despite Allardyce’s comments, Walcott does represent a significant risk on the injury front, having picked up a serious knee injury and missed over a hundred games in his career as well. But his goalscoring prowess is in no doubt and neither is his ability to play anywhere across the front line.