London (AFP) – Everton are in talks with Arsenal to sign out-of-favour England forward Theo Walcott as Sam Allardyce seeks to bolster his side’s goal threat.
Talks have opened with the Gunners over a potential £20 million ($27 million, 22 million euros) deal for the 28-year-old, who has just 18 months remaining on his contract.
Walcott has made just 15 appearances this season but has yet to make a Premier League start for Arsene Wenger’s side.
“I think you are all aware of our interest in Theo,” said Everton boss Allardyce, who has already strengthened his forward line with the purchase of Beskitas striker Cenk Tosun. “If that is possible to get over the line I’d be delighted.
“Obviously there are negotiations that are happening at the moment and if that can all be sorted out — one of the most difficult things to do today — then that would be a great addition in my opinion to come and join us from an attacking point of view.
“Two or three reasons really — goalscoring threat, pace, experience and he’s good on assists from wide areas in terms of his crossing ability.
“Theo’s not as risky (as Tosun) because he’s proven. He’s scored 100 goals for Arsenal from wide positions as well as many assists.”
Tosun is set for his debut against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday but Allardyce admits he has taken a gamble bringing in the Turkey international in January.
“It is not easy at all, it might not work. It is a massive problem in terms of you are hoping rather than being guaranteed he hits the ground running,” said the Toffees boss.
“When you look at the number of players who have been brought into this country from abroad, even in the summer, and not worked, particularly up front, it is a risk.”
Allardyce’s arrival at Everton at the end of November had an immediate impact as they played their way away from the relegation zone but their progress has stalled.
Although comfortably in mid-table, the Merseyside club have not won in their past four Premier League matches and have scored just a single goal in those games.