Arsenal forward Theo Walcott is expected to be subject to interest from Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United during the summer transfer window according to former striker Charlie Nicholas. The England international has been out-of-favour this term and reports are rife over his long-term future in north London.
The Sun understand the Gunners are ready to allow Walcott to leave The Emirates Stadium and replace him with Leicester City hotshot Riyad Mahrez, who has scored 17 goals this season to lead Claudio Ranieri's side to the brink of the Premier League title. Mahrez moved to the King Power Stadium in January 2014 from Le Havre and has this term been the stand-out player for the league leaders.
Walcott meanwhile has become an increasingly marginalised figure at Arsenal, having made just one top flight start since January having slipped down the pecking order behind Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and the fit-again Danny Welbeck. The ex-Southampton striker's position in Roy Hodgson's England squad for the summer's European Championships is uncertain; while his career looks likely to spiral into obscurity should he not choose his next move wisely.
However, former Arsenal man Nicholas insists the Premier League's biggest clubs including Chelsea, Liverpool and United will be queuing up to sign the 27-year-old. The Scot also believes that Antonio Conte will be tracking Walcott should Eden Hazard decide to leave the Blues in the summer.
"There has to be suitors looking at him," Nicholas told Sky Sports. "I don't see why Manchester United and Liverpool wouldn't be interested. Theo has the pace that people will be interested in and Chelsea might also be looking at him if they're considering letting Eden Hazard go. I think if the money was there, Arsene would sell him but I would not. It scares me that he could go to another club and deliver.
"I do believe he has it in him to score 20+ goals in a season. Arsene needs to change something for next season and he clearly needs to change the way he uses Walcott if he's going to get the best out of him. Theo is too nice though and I'd like to think he would have a good honest row with Arsene every now and again and ask him what he needs to do to prove himself."
Chelsea, Liverpool and United's transfer plans are likely to be grandiose having – along with Arsenal – each failed to mount a serious bid for the Premier League title. The trio could all miss out on qualifying for the Champions League, which could lead to major re-building come the summer.