Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has advised Theo Walcott against a move to Everton and believes the out-of-favour forward would flourish if he joined Bournemouth due to their attacking style of play.
Walcott is expected to leave north London in the coming days with Sam Allardyce's side confident of concluding a £20m ($27.5m) deal for the 28-year-old by the end of the week. His former club Southampton were also credited with an interest in bringing their former youth graduate back St Mary's, but it's the Merseysiders who are in the driving seat as it stands.
Merson, who enjoyed great success during his 12-year spell with Arsenal, winning two league titles as well as the European Cup Winners' Cup, believes the capture of Walcott will prove to be a great piece of business by Everton.
However, he expressed his concern over how Walcott will fare on Merseyside and believes he would benefit more from the tutelage of Eddie Howe, whose attacking philosophy has earned him continued praise.
"Whoever Everton buy, they have to buy pace, they've not got a lot of pace in the team. He would be a good signing for Everton, very good signing. My question would be would you go to Everton?" the former Arsenal playmaker was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo.
"People say he's got to play because he's going to the World Cup, I don't see him going to the World Cup. I think he's well down the pecking order. There would have to be a few injuries and he'd have to majorly pull up trees at Everton, and the way Everton play, it's going to be hard to pull up trees.
"The perfect fit, for me, with him would be Bournemouth. They play 4-4-2, they play attacking football, pacey."
Walcott is destined to leave Arsenal this month but Bournemouth are extremely unlikely to make a move for the versatile forward, whose £110,000-a-week wages would not coincide with the Cherries' wage structure.
Everton, who have already signed Cenk Tosun from Besiktas in a deal worth around £25m this month, are willing to pay Walcott's wages in full and are looking to bring in further recruits before the end of the window, with a left-back seen as a top priority.
Allardyce is also looking to trim his squad in certain areas and is open to offers for summer signings Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez, but midfielder Tom Davies is expected to remain with his boyhood club for the foreseeable future after West Ham United assistant manager Alan Irvine played down reports linking the Irons with a move for the 19-year-old.