Journalist Emanuele Giulianelli has claimed that Arsenal could be set to win the race to sign Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton, due to their interest in Theo Walcott.
The defender has handed in a transfer request this summer, and has so far been excluded from the first-team squad. Liverpool had been his preferred destination, but the Saints forced the Reds to apologise for their unjust pursuit of the Dutchman which unsettled him, and there seems to be tension around their dealings currently. Chelsea have also been touted as keen on his signature, but no deal has been struck as of yet.
The south-coast club is now believed to hold an interest in re-signing Theo Walcott from Arsenal, who has been limited to only 27 minutes of league football from the opening three league outings.
The England international has come under criticism in North-London on a number of occasions, with fans being quick to turn on him after a less-than desirable performance, but he has seemed to be happy with the club regardless.
Arsene Wenger may now have to consider whether he would be willing to part ways with his longest-serving senior player, in order to bring in a key player who they need.
Giulianelli believes a deal wouldn’t be easy for the 26 year-old, but Arsenal hold the key.
He said: “Talking about Virgil Van Dijk, the deal with Southampton for the Dutch defender is not easy, because the Saints don’t have the urgency to sell, so they are free to wait for the right offer and, in the meantime, can afford the luxury of even keeping him out of the squad.
“But Arsenal have the right key to convince Southampton: Theo Walcott has been a target of the Saints for a long time and they will ask Wenger to include the winger in the deal.”
Surely every Gunner out there would be happy to see Walcott move on as part of a deal to bring Van Dijk to the Emirates? Is Theo needed in case Alexis does leave?