Theo Walcott has had a disappointing season and could be the first on the chopping board as Arsenal prepare to face the backlash of another season without the Premier League title.
Walcott is likely to be one of the first players to leave Arsenal in the summer transfer window, after a poor campaign with the Gunners has seen the Englishman lose support from both manager and fans. The Southampton youth product has failed to make an impact this season and with the emergence of talents like Alex Iwobi and Joel Campbell, it is unlikely that Arsene Wenger will persist with the English midfielder.
Though Walcott has been at the Emirates for a decade now and is among the team’s more experienced players, he has never truly managed to cement a place in the starting XI this season. Wenger added further fuel to speculation about his exit by admitting that he was unsure about the future of the 27-year-old.
While he may be unwanted at the Emirates, it looks like Serie A giants AC Milan are keen on signing Walcott in a swap deal for their highly rated teenage midfielder Manuel Locatelli, according to Italian media outlet Calcio Mercato.
The report goes on to state that AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani has been to London to negotiate a possible exchange of players between the two clubs.
Manuel Locatelli top target for Arsenal
18-year-old Locatelli broke into the first team this season under manager Sinisa Mihajlovic and has impressed enough to spark interest from a number of Premier League clubs — including this year’s champions in waiting Leicester City.
Arsenal have also set their sights on the teenage midfielder, who is highly rated at the San Siro, with some even dubbing him to be a future captain for AC Milan. The fact that Mihajlovic has been sacked as manager and the Rossoneri are set to miss out on Champions League football next season could tempt Locatelli to consider a move away.
Both Arsenal and Leicester City can offer Champions League football to the young Italian, but he would most likely demand first team assurances. It remains to be seen what the cost will be for Milan to let go of one of their budding young talents.