Kevin Campbell is tipping Theo Walcott to make an “enormous difference” for Everton following the England forward’s move from Arsenal.
Walcott is Sam Allardyce’s second attacking acquisition this month after the manager swiftly prioritised the recruitment of additional firepower following his appointment in November.
Striker Cenk Tosun was signed from Besiktas earlier in January and is set for a Goodison Park debut against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, when Walcott could feature for Everton for the first time.
Walcott was the country’s hottest young property when he was snapped up by Arsenal from Southampton as a 16-year-old in January 2006.
He scored 108 times in his 12 years with the Gunners and his 21 goals in European competition are second only to French great Thierry Henry in the capital club’s all-time list.
The 28-year-old has 47 England caps and remains the Three Lions’ youngest debutant, having won full international honours at the age of 17 years and 75 days in a friendly match against Hungary in May 2006.
Walcott revealed his determination to help Everton “push forward” and win trophies after completing his transfer to Merseyside.
And former Everton and Arsenal centre-forward Campbell is excited about the prospect of a motivated and confident Walcott hitting his peak with the Blues.
“A hungry Theo Walcott is going to be a great asset for Everton,” Campbell told evertonfc.com
“Everton are going to be upwardly mobile and looking to push up the league and compete towards the top of the table.
“He wants a challenge and he is a great signing for Everton. He is somebody who has scored more than 100 goals and that will make an enormous difference for the Football Club.
“He can play in multiple positions, which has been the beauty of him at Arsenal. He is extremely good down the middle but equally effective playing out wide. That flexibility is a huge part of what he brings.
“This is a real challenge for Theo now. It seems as though he has been around for ever but he is only 28 and there is a terrific challenge there for him.”
Walcott has been directly involved in nine goals in his nine starts this season – scoring four and assisting five – to add to the 19 he chalked up last term, while Turkey international Tosun has scored 38 times since the beginning of 2016/17.
And Everton’s attacking stocks have been further strengthened by the recent return from injury of winger Yannick Bolasie, who has started the Blues’ past three games after making his comeback against West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day.
With Club-record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson’s creative talents to factor in and the redoubtable Wayne Rooney scoring and setting up goals, Campbell insists the Toffees possess the all the craft and artillery they need to regularly hit the back of the net.
And he admits he would have relished the chance to lead the line in this Everton team.
“It would be a dream, an absolute dream,” said Campbell, who won a clean sweep of English honours and the European Cup Winners’ Cup with Arsenal.
“As a striker, with that much creativity on the pitch, you just make your run and know your teammates will find you.
“I think Everton lacked that a little bit earlier in the season.
“But Bolasie adds a huge amount. He can beat defenders on the inside or outside. And once somebody can do that, they draw defenders away from the striker.
"You anticipate a good ball coming in from him and being able to get on the end of it. If the quality is not good you stop making those runs as a striker, because you do not expect to get the ball.
“I love Bolasie as a player. His delivery has largely been excellent since he came back. Hopefully he can keep that going and we can start scoring some goals.”
Campbell left boyhood club Arsenal for Nottingham Forest in 1995. He later had a seven-month spell with Trabzonspor in Turkey before joining Everton in March 1999.
The 47-year-old spent the thick end of six years at Goodison and now counts himself as a committed Evertonian.
And he is convinced the Blues have the right man in charge to steer the Club towards the upper reaches of the Premier League.
Allardyce was appointed boss in late November and oversaw a startling initial upturn in form. Everton sit ninth, four points behind Leicester City in eighth – with Campbell urging his old team to keep looking up the table, despite a barren return from their three most recent top-flight outings.
“I have been impressed by how Sam has steadied the ship and I think he is now entering phase two,” added Campbell.
“We were in a difficult spot when he came in, but he got the back four right and picked up a few wins.
“Wayne Rooney’s form got even better and he is in double figures for goals, which is great. We have had a tough stretch of games but should still be looking to push on to see what we can do.
“Sam will really want to move the Club forward now – to progressively move us up the table. He is bringing in the right players – the likes of Theo Walcott who have something to prove.
“I am intrigued to see what happens in the future.”