By Derek Smithson
West Ham are eyeing Arsenal wide man Theo Walcott this summer, according to a report.
The Daily Mirror claim that the Hammers have identified the winger as a £25million target in the transfer market.
It is understood that the 28-year-old is keen to be involved in England’s World Cup squad next year and will need regular first-team football to achieve that ambition, something not guaranteed if he stays at the Emirates Stadium.
Walcott has become an important player for Arsene Wenger since his arrival in in 2006 and has now racked up 383 appearances for the Gunners.
The pacy attacker was in good form last season as he struck 19 goals in 37 appearances across all competitions.
However, he is still facing tough competition to cement a starting position at the north London club, with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lucas Perez, Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck also in contention.
Walcott was omitted from Gareth Southgate’s most recent England squad and he has not featured in a competitive game for his nation since October 2016.
Football Insider verdict:
West Ham need to bring in some top quality additions in the summer to help them compete for the European spots and Walcott would be a superb signing. The 28-year-old is now in the peak of his career and would be able to go straight into the Hammers starting line-up on the right flank. He managed 19 goals last season without too much fuss and that figure could only improve if he was playing regularly. Walcott has not completed 90 minutes in the Premier League since 18 December and a move away from Arsenal could be in his best interests for his international aspirations. Slaven Bilic’s side will only continue to grow at their new London Stadium and Walcott could be a fantastic marquee signing this summer.
In other West Ham transfer news, they have made an emphatic decision over the future of their defender.