Everton are reportedly edging closer to a £20m deal for Arsenal's Theo Walcott, as Sam Allardyce eyes attacking reinforcements for his shot-shy squad.
Times football journalist Paul Joyce - who has excellent contacts in the north west - took to his personal Twitter account on Tuesday morning to report that the Toffees were ready to lure the striker to Goodison Park this month.
Everton close to signing Theo Walcott. Talks yesterday and £20m fee— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) January 16, 2018
Talks are believed to have been held between the two Premier League sides on Monday amid speculation that Everton will stump up £20m for Walcott, and Arsenal are only too happy to sell a player who is now surplus to requirements.
Allardyce is desperate to bring in attacking quality to bolster his forward ranks on Merseyside after a run of five matches that resulted in only one goal being registered - Gylfi Sigurdsson's equaliser in the 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Merseyside rivals Liverpool 11 days ago.
Hope I’m proved wrong, but spending £23.5m on nearly 29-year-old Theo Walcott, given the players we’ve got, the formation we play and the other areas of the squad that need attention, seems like madness.— Joe Strange (@joe_strange) January 15, 2018
The 63-year-old has already added £27m Turkey international Cenk Tosun to his senior squad in the January window, but needs a forward with pace, top flight experience, and an eye for goal to add new a element to his attack.
Walcott, who has spent the past decade as an Arsenal servant, has struggled for regular minutes in north London this term and will want first-team football to prove his fitness and form ahead of this summer's World Cup.
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The Gunners ace will want to be part of Gareth Southgate's England squad in Russia for the international tournament, and would certainly earn a decent amount of starts under Allardyce at Goodison Park.
Bournemouth, who took Walcott's teammate Jack Wilshere on a season-long loan last season, are said to want to rival the Blues for the ex-Southampton starlet's signature by trying to tie up a six-month loan for Walcott.
Walcott's former club are also thought to retain more than a passing interest in him, but Everton remain the favourites to scoop him up if Arsene Wenger elects to cash in on the England international.