Arsenal forward Walcott wanted by Benitez at Napoli

Reports in Italy suggest Rafael Benitez is ready to test the resolve of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, by making an enquiry about the availability of Theo Walcott with a view to bringing the forward to Napoli.

Walcott only pledged his long-term future to the Gunners in January and signed a new contract. The Englishman went on to have his best season at the Emirates Stadium, finding the target 21 times in 43 appearances in all competitions.

The Naples outfit could offer Walcott the role he craves of playing in a central striking role, plus automatic entry into next season’s Champions League, whilst Arsenal have to negotiate the often tricky play-off round.

Napoli expect to lose their predatory striker Edinson Cavani this summer, with a clutch of clubs including Real Madrid, Benitez’s former club Chelsea and Manchester City lining up to snap up the Uruguayan.

Benitez will use the cash to potentially table a £23m bid for Walcott and as Metro believes the Spaniard will receive backing to sign the former Southampton winger from the club president.

Aurelio De Laurentiis told Italian outlets: “We require another right sided second striker. We are closing in on someone in this area, but I can’t say anything more in order to avoid the asking price going up.

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