By London correspondent Tony Hughes
West Ham are ready to offer a £50million deal to land Theo Walcott, Football Insider sources understand.
The Hammers are preparing to make a £25million bid for the Arsenal star and have also put together a £120,000-a-week deal to tempt him to the Olympic Stadium in the summer.
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan revealed on Monday that his club will table an offer for a Premier League-based striker “later this week”.
Sullivan said the bid will be of up to £25million and, although he stopped short of naming the player, a well-placed source has told Football Insider he was referring to is Walcott.
West Ham are also ready to offer Walcott a lucrative four-year package worth £25million that will put him on a par with the club’s top earner Dimitri Payet, who signed an improved contract in February.
Walcott has had a disappointing campaign at Emirates Stadium and has only been on the fringes of the Arsenal team in the second half of the season despite being fully fit.
He is set to miss out of England’s Euro 2016 squad after slipping behind Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud in the striker pecking order at Arsenal in recent months, as well as losing out to Alexis Sanchez and Alex Iwobi for one of the wide roles.
An Arsenal recruitment source has told Football Insider that the club are willing to allow Walcott to leave if they can secure a fee of £25million for the 27-year-old.
Walcott signed a new £110,000-a-week, four-year contract last summer to extend his spell with the club he joined as a 16-year-old to 10 years.
He has scored 85 goals in 343 appearances for Arsenal, including nine from 42 matches this season.
West Ham are willing to come close to Arsenal’s valuation for Walcott in order to make him their record signing this summer.
Sullivan gave some insight into the club’s ambitious summer transfer plans as the east Londoners prepare to make their move to the Olympic Stadium, which will increase revenue streams at the club.
“We hope to bring in one or two top players,” Sullivan told Sky Sports News HQ on Monday afternoon. “The Olympic Stadium gives us about £12million a year of extra income.
“We put a bid in today for €30million for a player and other bids are going in. We’re going to be making a £20- £25million bid for a player in England later this week.
“Whatever happens we intend to bring a top striker in.”
Asked if West Ham would be spending £50million on two players, Sullivan told Sky Sports News: “No, one or the other.” Asked for a name, Sullivan replied, “I can’t give you a name, we’re not close enough.”
Sullivan’s comments make it clear that West Ham are ready to smash their club record transfer fee of £15.5million, which was spent to entice Andy Carroll from Liverpool in the summer of 2013.
Carroll is comfortably the Hammers’ record signing, although the club have also spent £10million-plus fees on the likes of Payet, Enner Valencia and Angel Ogbonna.
In other West Ham news, co-chairman David Gold has spoken boldly of where the club can finish next season if they strengthen their squad this summer.