Theo Walcott’s move to Everton appears to be a transfer that has fully separated the Goodison faithful. Some can completely see the benefits but most Evertonians were questioning why their side were even interested in the Arsenal man.
After all, if he can’t get into Arsene Wenger’s team why is he suddenly good enough to get into Everton’s?
Everton don’t want cast-offs anymore, their days of taking players that the teams above them don’t want, think Tim Howard, Phil Neville and Aaron Lennon, are supposed to be behind them.
Indeed, for these fans, the move raises questions about Director of Football Steve Walsh and his eye for scouting once again.
He was brought in from Leicester City to give the Blues an edge, scouting unknown talent with the potential to turn into stars, as he did with Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy. Moving for Walcott seems like playing it safe.
The opposite is in fact true. A look at the numbers and a bit of common sense show a move for Walcott would be a smart one for Everton. There’s no overlooking the fact the Blues are short up front this season, with their forward options severely limited.
The arrival of Cenk Tosun has gone some way to fixing that but expecting the Turkish international to solve their goalscoring problems is foolishly optimistic. Even if he hits the ground running, Everton still need reinforcements and Walcott is a solid choice. He’s not prolific by any means but he knows how to find the back of the net better than those currently at the club.
The most goals Aaron Lennon has managed in the last ten seasons? Ten. It’s the same number for Yannick Bolasie in the last five seasons. The recently departed Kevin Mirallas has only gone past that tally in one of his six seasons at Goodison Park.
Walcott, by comparison, got 19 in all competitions last year, a goal every 1.9 games.
Theo Walcott, Arsenal 2016-17. Left is old template, right is new. Defensive work legitimately impressive this year pic.twitter.com/jeueR22yZF— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) October 6, 2016
Walcott also adds a key component that the current line up sorely lacks and that’s pace. Bolasie aside, there is a serious lack of it in this Everton team, something they’ve been heavily criticised for all season.
He also adds some much-needed experience. Previous manager Ronald Koeman complained about the lack of it in his squad and signed players in a specific age group to try and fix it.
To some extent, he succeeded but Allardyce will be keen to keep adding to ensure he is not relying on Everton’s talented youth moving forward. At 28 Walcott is as experienced as they come, having played in over 250 Premier League games, 73 in Europe and racked up 47 England caps as well.
That kind of experience is something Allardyce will want and would certainly aid a squad that, on average, is the fourth youngest in the league. Indeed, £20 million for a man with that level of experience and several years left in the tank looks like a bargain in today’s inflated market. Whether he proves to be such a capture, remains to be seen.
But those doubting the move would be wise to have a second look, this could end up being a bargain for Everton. Even if it doesn’t, there’s still plenty of logic to it.