According to reports coming from The Sun over the weekend, West Ham could be preparing a £25 million move for Arsenal’s Theo Walcott to try and bring him across London for the next season.
It’s thought that another season spent on the fringes of the Gunners’ starting eleven could damage his chances of earning a place in England’s World Cup squad, with a need for more regular football.
And West Ham have emerged as one of the clubs keen to take on the 28-year-old winger, with Slaven Bilic able to provide him with the first-team action he needs to re-impress Gareth Southgate.
Would Walcott boost an under-performing West Ham side?
Everybody knows the main selling point of Theo Walcott and there’s almost no need to go deeper into it – he’s built a career at the top around his pure pace and acceleration down the wide flanks.
There aren’t many Premier League defenders that could catch up with him when he gets into full flow and Slaven Bilic comes across as a man that can channel and utilise this threat in a clever way.
His pace down the right-hand side, allied with the potency and physical presence of Andy Carroll inside the penalty area, could become a dangerous partnership if Walcott hones his crossing ability.
Over the past 18 months – despite a lack of first-team action – he’s also developed his work-rate incredibly well too, now giving a lot more effort both in the final third and defending in his own half.
This was always lacking slightly in his early days, with his commitment in the tackle questioned on more than one occasion, but with this added grit to his play he’s become a more rounded footballer.
His ability to play either wide or in a more central role could be a useful tool for West Ham too, able to switch things up in the attacking third and pose a more dynamic threat than last season.
Although he didn’t endure the best season at the Emirates – he was left out of ten Premier League matches and was an unused sub in the FA Cup final victory – he still managed to score ten times.
In better circumstances, in a league that he knows inside and out, and with confidence and games under his belt, Walcott could thrive in East London and boost West Ham’s league position next year.
There’s no doubt that the Hammers endured a disappointing debut season at the London Stadium, only narrowly pulling themselves out of a relegation battle during the climax to the campaign, and signing a player like Walcott – with experience right at the very top – would make a huge statement of intent.
With the possibility of Michail Antonio on one wing and Walcott on the other – two men vying for spots on the plane to Russia next summer – it could signal an exciting time for West Ham should a move happen.