Theo Walcott is closing in on an Arsenal exit after West Ham emerged as front-runners for his signature in the summer, with the Olympic Stadium-bound Hammers willing to pay around £20m for the out-of-favour forward.
Walcott is desperate to secure regular first-team football, having fallen down the pecking order at Arsenal behind Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud and seeing Alexis Sanchez make the right midfield role his own.
West Ham make their final appearance at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday when they take on Manchester United in their penultimate Premier League match of the season, but it’s reported by The Sun that Walcott is already close to sealing a move to the club in the summer and has been lured towards West Ham instead of Chelsea due to their ambition.
Walcott joined Arsenal 10 years ago in a £9.1m deal from Southampton, but there is a feeling at the Emirates that the England international has failed to reach the lofty heights that he was expected to hit when he made his debut in August 2006, and there has been growing discontent among Arsenal fans this season with his inconsistent form.
The 27-year-old has played 231 times for Arsenal, but his development has been hindered by a number of injuries as well as manager Arsene Wenger’s uncertainty over his best position, having swapped Walcott from the right wing to lead striker on numerous occasions.
West Ham co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan are ready to support manager Slaven Bilic in the transfer market this summer after he exceeded expectations this summer to lead the club into the Olympic Stadium with the possibility of European football still on the cards, and the former has already spoken out to confirm the club are ready to press on with interest in two strikers valued at over £20m.
Walcott has been linked with both Chelsea and Manchester City earlier in the season, but it’s added that the recent ambition shown by the Hammers in their bid to break into the top four has convinced him to move to Arsenal’s rivals where he can expect more first-team opportunities than at the two other clubs interested in his services.
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