Everton manager Sam Allardyce says the club is negotiating with Arsenal to sign Theo Walcott on a permanent deal as he attempts to boost his side’s attacking threat.
“You’re all aware of our interest in Theo,” Allardyce told a news conference. “If we’re able to get that over the line, I’ll be delighted.
“If we can get that all sorted out then that would be a great addition to join us in an attacking point of view.
“Two to three reasons [for interest]: goalscoring threat, pace, experience and he’s good on assists from wide in terms of his crossing.
“So if that’s at all possible, that would be very nice. It’s not imminent, but negotiations are going on.”
Walcott, if the deal goes through, will be the second player to leave the Emirates thiJanuaryry after Francis Coquelin completed a move to Spanish La Liga side Valencia on Thursday.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he has informed Walcott he wants him to stay but added on Friday he has not guaranteed game time to the England international, who has 18 months left on his contract.
Wenger said: “We still have a good relationship and I don’t want him to be frustrated or lose any opportunity to play in the World Cup, because Theo went to the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and we are now in 2018 and he’s not been since for different reasons. That, of course, is a sensitive subject.”
Allardyce, who has already signed striker Cenk Tosun from Besitkas for £27m in January, says any signings made in addition to a deal for Walcott would only happen if players left Everton first.
But he views Walcott as “proven”, citing his “goalscoring threat” and “crossing ability” as key attributes.
“He’s scored 100 goals for Arsenal from wide positions,” said Allardyce. “His pace is a key strength which we lack. To add goals would be very important for me. And he’s only 28.
“If that can be sorted out it would be a great addition from an attacking point of view. I don’t think there’s a chance of a loan.
“I don’t get optimistic otherwise I get disappointed. I’ll be very excited and enthused when someone, even if it’s not Theo, has signed on the dotted line.”
Walcott joined Arsenal for £5m from Southampton in 2006.
He has scored 108 goals for the club, with his most prolific season coming in 2012-2013, when he found the net 21 times in 43 appearances.