Manchester United have reportedly entered the race for Arsenal contract rebel Theo Walcott, as Sir Alex Ferguson looks to replace Red Devils misfit Nani.
The England international's deal with the Gunners expires in seven months and he has persistently stalled on fresh negotiations since August. Liverpool, Chelsea and Premier League champions Manchester City were all linked to the forward in the summer but Old Trafford, the Daily Mail reports, would be a preferred destination. The report also claims Arsenal have offered a £75,000 per week five year contract. However, the former Southampton youngster wants a figure closer to £100,000 per week.
Walcott could be available for around £8m in January but a potential swap could be arranged, with Portuguese winger Nani the bait to lure Arsene Wenger and Walcott. However, the Portugal international's £130,000 per week wages could prove a major stumbling block in any deal. Swap deals were also reported between Liverpool and Arsenal, for Walcott and Reds' own contract rebel, Raheem Sterling.
Meanwhile, the Mirror reports United and Liverpool are considering January bids for Walcott. However, Chelsea and City would only be interested in a summer transfer... when the player becomes a free agent.
Walcott, who has 30 international caps, joined Arsenal from Southampton in 2006 for a fee that eventually rose to £12m. If the forward joins United, it will be Ferguson's second sensational raid on Arsenal this year, after snapping up skipper Robin van Persie for £24m.
Begovic Flattered by Big Club Interest
Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has revealed he is flattered by the interest from United, Arsenal and Liverpool. Ferguson is understood to be interested in landing the 25 year old in January, while Sky Sports reports Wenger and Brendan Rodgers are also keeping tabs on the Bosnia international.
"It's very flattering. It's positive feedback from other teams that people are looking at you and mentioning you with those teams. It's no secret that everyone has their own ambitions and they want to be playing at the highest level possible," the former Pompey No 1 said.
"But right now I'm just focused on taking Stoke forward and I think the club here has a lot of ambitions; the chairman, the manager and everyone else included. So we just want to keep pushing this club forwards and see how far we can take it," the Stoke stopper added.