Even a reported summit over his future role might not have convinced Theo Walcott to remain at Arsenal beyond the summer, paving the way for Liverpool to snap the forward up.
Walcott’s stinging downgrade to spectator from that of regular England squad member for Euro 2016 paints a bleak picture of his current standing at Arsenal, the club he joined as a 16-year-old.
Arsene Wenger’s failed experiment to convert the winger into a central striker at the outset of 2015/16 saw Walcott’s opportunities to start matches seriously checked as the season unfolded, leading to 21 appearances as a substitute.
Now 27, the former Southampton youth has arrived at a career crossroads and according to the Sun, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is hoping to guide the forward onto a new path.
The red-top say Klopp has identified Walcott as his preferred profile of versatile, quick forwards to operate in a fluid attacking structure like the one that brought him so much success at Borussia Dortmund.
Rumoured offloads from Anfield such as Christian Benteke and Jordon Ibe should create space for the Arsenal man, especially if Paris St-Germain’s pursuit of Reds playmaker Philippe Coutinho also ends successfully.
Born to a Liverpool-supporting Dad, this is far from the first time Walcott has been linked with a move to Merseyside either.
Only time will tell whether Wenger is intent on blocking any potential switch, especially after tying his number 14 to a four-year contract only 12 months back.
Rumours of a potential £25m bid could prove persuasive however, for a player kept out of the team by the emergence of teenager Alex Iwobi in the second half of a markedly indifferent campaign.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.