In Focus: Everton and Southampton battle for Walcott still has a long way to run

According to reports in the Daily Mail, Everton are in pole position to beat Southampton to the £20m signing of Arsenal winger Theo Walcott, who has scored 108 goals in 398 games for the Gunners.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the Daily Mail says that the Toffees are challenging their Premier League rivals in the battle to land the 28-year-old attacker this month, and they are confident that they will beat Saints to his signature.

The Daily Mail says that the Merseyside outfit would be able to get closer to match Walcott’s current £110,000-a-week wages, whereas Southampton would be looking for their former player to take a wage cut if he was to return to St Mary’s before the window slams shut on January 31.

The report adds that if comes down to location however, the England international may choose not to uproot his young family from the south of England which could give Mauricio Pellegrino’s men the advantage.

How has Walcott done this season?

While he has been a regular in the domestic cups and in the Europa League, the 28-year-old has barely featured in the Premier League and has played just 49 minutes in total across five top flight appearances from the substitutes’ bench.

Elsewhere, the winger has scored five goals and provided a further four assists in 10 games – prior to the EFL Cup clash against Chelsea – although he was also part of the side that suffered a disappointing 4-2 defeat against Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup at the City Ground on Sunday – a display that may have put his future into further doubt.

Would he be a good signing for Everton?

He certainly would be given his impressive goalscoring record – usually from a position out wide –but it would be interesting to see where he would fit in.

Sam Allardyce has preferred a 4-2-3-1 system since he arrived at Goodison Park and with new boy Cenk Tosun surely the first-choice up top, Walcott would be fighting for a place out wide along with the likes of Yannick Bolasie, Ademola Lookman, Nikola Vlasic, Aaron Lennon and Gylfi Sigurdsson as things stand.

Will they beat Southampton to him?

The chase for Walcott seems to depend on a number of factors.

Firstly, whether Arsene Wenger will be willing to let him go if Alexis Sanchez leaves this month, whether he will leave on loan or permanently, and what the player’s preference is.

If the 28-year-old doesn’t mind moving up north and isn’t desperate to rejoin his former club then Everton would be the frontrunners for his signature, so it will be interesting to see how things pan out over the course of the next couple of weeks.