Sam Allardyce says Theo Walcott will bring “goals, pace and excitement” to Everton after swooping to bring the England international forward to Goodison Park on a three-and-a-half-year deal.
Walcott has joined the Toffees from Arsenal after 12 years in north London, where he scored 108 goals. His 19 strikes last season made him the third highest scoring Englishman in all competitions, behind only Tottenham Hotspur duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
And after Everton fought off competition from a clutch of rival suitors to land the 28-year-old, the manager hailed the “shrewd negotiations” undertaken by the Club to land a player he expects to prove “exceptionally good value for money”.
“I am thrilled,” Allardyce told evertontv. “There was a bit of a chase between a couple of clubs but I think after we set out the ambitions of the Club and my ambitions for him he was motivated to come here and refreshed in his mind by the new challenge he can put upon himself.
“He wants to go somewhere where he can be successful. He wants to play every week and really take his career forward again.
“We have looked at the amount of goals, assists and pace that he brings to the side and it is a very good acquisition. There was a lot of shrewd negotiation by the Club in terms of today’s prices and, hopefully, it will prove to be exceptionally good value for money.
“If you analyse his goal record, then we are looking at a player who contributes goals on a regular basis, as well as assists and working hard off the ball for the team – and helping out the full-back when he needs to defend. I think that is very important.
“His physical output is excellent, he would be one of our top players in that area as well, which will hopefully bring us a lot more excitement and more ability to get forward quicker and create.
“I did not come out of retirement to not be able to try to improve the side and I have to thank the owners, the Chairman and everybody for getting stuck into these deals.”
<<<<< Click here to order your 'Walcott 11' 2017/18 shirt >>>>>
Allardyce outlined the need for Everton to add firepower to their squad shortly after taking charge in November.
And the 63-year-old swiftly identified Walcott – who Allardyce recalled to the England squad when managing the national team in 2016 – as one of his chief targets, explaining the attacker’s age, experience and potential all fit perfectly into his wider vision for the Club.
Walcott is a three-times FA Cup winner, Arsenal’s second-highest scorer in European competition and remains the youngest footballer to have played for England after making his debut aged 17 years and 75 days against Hungary in 2006.
He scored 65 goals and provided 43 assists in 270 Premier League matches for the Gunners. His 19 goals last term came from only 29 starts and eight appearances from the bench – and he has directly contributed to nine goals in his nine starts this term.
“His experience with Arsenal, playing Champions League football and fighting to get into Champions League positions, and winning FA Cups [made him the right player for Everton],” said Allardyce, who made Walcott his second Everton signing, following the capture of Turkey international goalscorer Cenk Tosun from Besiktas earlier this month.
“He has 47 caps for England, he is 28, and has a lot of ambition to take off again with his career.
“Even though he scored 19 goals in 37 games last year, because Arsenal are now playing with wing-backs there was no real position for Theo and he has been frustrated.
“That allowed us to move in and make a bid, Arsenal to accept it, and him to join us here at Everton Football Club. And I am looking forward to him having a very successful time with us.
“He is at a prime age. The prime age of a professional footballer is between 25, 26 and 30, 31. That is when they appear, by all research today, to be at the peak of their careers.
“We have not got too many players in that age bracket in the squad, so he adds one to that. He has a lot of experience and will hopefully provide a lot of excitement for the Everton fans and for us, in terms of getting results, assists and scoring goals.”