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West Ham close in on Arsenal forward in £25million deal

Walcott worried that lack of first-team action at the Emirates will seriously affect his England hopes of making the 2018 World Cup

THEO WALCOTT is £25million target for West Ham.

Arsenal forward Walcott is seemingly afraid that another season like his last will seriously affect his chances of making the World Cup.

Theo Walcott...£25million West Ham target

Rex Features
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Theo Walcott…£25million West Ham target

Walcott, aged 28, is well aware he needs regular first-team play if he is to figure in England boss Gareth Southgate’s plans.

And West Ham, happy to pay a little over the odds for a player so often on the fringe of the Gunners’ senior side in 2016/17, can give him just that.

One of Walcott’s problems was the fact that boss Arsene Wenger introduced a 3-5-2 system last season that so often reduced the former Southampton player to a substitute’s role.

He was, for instance, an unused sub in Arsenal’s 2-1 FA Cup final triumph over Chelsea.

Arsene Wengers decision to employ a 3-5-2 formation seriously affected Walcott

Getty Images
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Arsene Wenger’s decision to employ a 3-5-2 formation seriously affected Walcott

Now the frontman is worried about his chances of making the World Cup finals

Reuters
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Now the frontman is worried about his chances of making the World Cup finals

That led to Southgate leaving him out of his England squad for the end of season games with Scotland and France, the biggest wake-up call of all.

And it followed a bust-up with Southgate over the phone in March after Walcott was also dropped from the national side despite his form for the Gunners.

Ironically, Walcott enjoyed his best Premier League scoring campaign for four years last season as he hit double figures.

But the writing is on the wall World Cup-wise and West Ham look poised to offer him a better route to Russia 2018.