Are Liverpool & Chelsea Really Chasing £15m Arsenal Star?

New Liverpool boss Brendan Rogers wants to capitalise on Theo Walcott’s uncertain future but faces competition from Roberto di Matteo according to the Daily Mail.

Like want away team mate Robin Van Persie, the England winger only has a year left on his contract and is reportedly asking for £100,000 a week to secure his services beyond the next 12 months.

The Mirror and The Sun both claim that Liverpool are leading the chase for Walcott, which poses two questions; would the 23-year-old succeed under the new regime and can Liverpool afford him?

Under Rogers, unfancied Swansea became the most watchable team in the Premier League with their exciting brand of attacking football, heavily influenced by the well documented ‘tiki-taka’ system used by Spain.

And while Arsenal play an equally eye catching passing game, there must be doubts as to how Walcott would fit into the Northern Irishman’s plans.

The former Southampton trainee’s journey to the stardom he was once tipped for has stalled in recent years. English players are much maligned for their lack of technical ability compared to their continental compatriots and at times Walcott is a glaring example of that.

Despite this, Walcott finished last season with impressive stats to rival the best Premier League wide men. Eleven goals and 10 assists is a good return for a player who has been criticised for his end product.

Rogers favours a 4-3-3 formation and given the success of Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer at Swansea last season, Walcott would be an ideal signing. His pace and willingness to attack the full back would be welcomed at Anfield. Just ask Stewart Downing.

For Liverpool it doesn’t look as if it will be quite as easy to entice Walcott to Merseyside. It is expected that the new manager will have to sell players before he can buy.

With Newcastle’s reported reluctance to make Andy Carroll’s return to Tyneside a permanent one, Rogers may not have the money to fund the deal.

For Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo money is no such issue and the club are thought to be admirers of the Arsenal player. While there is an obvious place for Walcott in Liverpool’s plans his path to the Chelsea first team would not be as straight forward.

Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge have proven their ability on the flanks for the Blues. Add to that new recruits Eden Hazard, Marko Marin, Kevin du Bruyne as well as Florent Malouda and Yossi Benayoun and you question Chelsea’s interest is genuine.

If it is, would Walcott welcome such competition, or would he hope that with Didier Drogba’s departure he may be given a chance in his preferred strikers role.

With Liverpool lacking money and Chelsea seemingly lacking space, it is surprising that talks of a move has come about. But Walcott knows all about player power, as does his agent. Arsenal would loathe losing an asset to Champions League rivals and potentially at a cut price with little time left on his contract.

It is not out of the question that the winger’s agent is excited by a lucrative contract and is using scare tactics to force Arsenal into giving into Walcott’s wage demands.

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