COMMENT by Alex Taylor
Theo Walcott has been the subject of endless column inches since his arrival in north London in January 2006.
His electric pace and cultured finishing saw him beat Wayne Rooney’s then record of being the youngest player ever to feature for England, just four months after signing for the Gunners.
Arsenal paid just £5million plus add-ons for Southampton’s academy wonder-boy and have certainly had their money’s worth, 89 goals and 75 assists across 22,671 minutes of football represents a reasonable return.
Yet despite the forward’s unquestionable talent the 27-year-old may have reached the end of the road under Arsene Wenger.
The forward featured in 28 Premier League games this season but a return of just five goals and three assists has sparked the interest of several other domestic teams in search of his signature.
Enter West Ham. The progressive east London outfit have been rejuvenated under Slaven Bilic this season after finishing 7th in the Premier League and are now preparing to move home.
A new 60,000 seat Olympic Stadium awaits those playing in claret and blue next season and it’s an environment that could entice Walcott, who was approached by West Ham earlier in the summer.
The move would guarantee the England international a starting place through the heart of the Hammers attack and his pace and movement could complement the towering 6ft 4in Andy Carroll, opposites attract.
Walcott would be licking his lips at the thought of playing in-front of Dimitri Payet too next season, the France international has lit up the European Championships this summer after a stunning debut season in England.
Thoughts of international football may now seem distant now for the Arsenal winger.
With his career stuttering, his name was scarcely mentioned in the build up to Euro 2016, names like Mark Noble and Michail Antonio were much more prominent in discussions surrounding Roy Hodgson’s possible team.
At just 27 it could be the perfect chance for Walcott to kick-start his faltering career away from the prawn-sandwich brigade at the Emirates and in front of a passionate fan base who would welcome him with open arms.