United leading Premier League rivals in race for winger’s signature.
EXCLUSIVE: Fergie set to beat City and Liverpool to Walcott as United lead race for Arsenal’s contract rebel
Manchester United have joined the race for Arsenal rebel Theo Walcott in a move similar to Robin van Persie’s controversial switch to Old Trafford in August.
Sir Alex Ferguson is keen to land the England winger, whose deal expires at the end of the season.
Sportsmail understands that should Walcott leave Arsenal, his first choice would be United.
Walcott is declining to sign a five-year deal worth £75,000 a week, while formal talks over fresh terms have not taken place since August 28.
He is said to be keen to stay but wants a deal closer to £100,000 a week.
SOURCE: Daily Mail
Get ready for Piers Morgan to explode across the twittersphere…
Theo Walcott appears no closer to agreeing a new deal with struggling Arsenal and, as the transfer window approaches, it is looking increasingly likely that Walcott will bet the latest high-profile player to leave the Emirates.
The 23-year-old wants a massive pay rise, as well as a place up-front – rather than on the wing – and boss Arsene Wenger initially froze Walcott out of his starting eleven, only to change tack when the England international hit good form.
In fact, the former Southampton star is Arsenal’s top scorer in all competitions, despite starting only a handful of matches.
Sir Alex Ferguson may feel that a cut-price offer for Walcott in January could tempt Arsenal into cashing in on a player who can leave for nothing in the summer.
Alternatively, the Scot could wait until the end of the season to sign Walcott on a free transfer, which could lead to the kind of relationship between Walcott and Arsenal fans that Sol Campbell now enjoys with the Tottenham faithful.
Such a dramatic move is all the more likely given that Old Trafford winger Nani appears to be surplus to requirements at United, having started only four Premier League matches this season.
Wenger is a stubborn man and may feel that he has enough wide attacking options to resist Walcott’s salary and positional demands.
The Frenchman boasts the likes of Lukas Podolski, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi but, even so, losing Walcott to fierce rivals United would be a bitter pill to swallow, particularly after Robin van Persie’s defection in the summer.
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