Theo Walcott may have his pick of four Premier League teams once the January window opens, should Arsenal look to move the forward on.
The 28-year-old will have been at Arsenal for 12 years next month and his dwindling opportunities could finally bring his time at the club to an end.
Arsenal have arguably never quite got what they envisioned out of Walcott, a player who joined them with immense promise as a 17-year-old, although Arsene Wenger is said to be against selling him.
Instead, anyone looking at Walcott may have to settle for a loan move.
Such a deal would likely benefit all parties, too, as Walcott is currently sitting on a contract worth £140,000-a-week until the end of next season – something he’s unlikely to want to give up with such a short time left – and he may want to assess his options further in the summer.
The rejuvenation of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at Liverpool – a player who embarked on a remarkably similar career path – has shone a little light on whether Walcott might be better served elsewhere.
Now, in a month that promises big dealings at Arsenal, he may finally get that opportunity.
Although according to the Mirror, his first choice may not be that new.
Southampton, flush with an abundance of cash in the wake of Virgil van Dijk’s sale to Liverpool, are looking to boost their attack – and Walcott fits the bill perfectly.
The Saints will be eager to add both experience and pace to their team, with no better way to do it than with someone who already knows the club.
They may face a fight, however, with Everton hoping Walcott could be the answer in their much-publicised quest for pace.
Both Watford and West Ham remain interested in the England international, too, meaning Walcott should have a great choice of clubs if he is allowed to leave.
And that may be the stumbling block – whether Wenger ultimately allows him to go. Arsenal are still in the Europa League and face a fierce battle for the top four, so Walcott may find his exists blocked at a time where Arsenal’s forward line faces so much uncertainty.
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are both out of contract in the summer and may receive offers to leave as early as next month, should certain clubs feel impatient. Olivier Giroud, meanwhile, continues to be linked with a move for more game time ahead of the World Cup.
This January is shaping up to be one of the biggest that Arsenal have ever had.
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