(Reuters) - Everton have signed Theo Walcott from Premier League rivals Arsenal on a 3-1/2 year deal with the forward saying he wants to take the Merseyside club to the next level.
The 28-year-old, who joined Arsenal in 2006, scored 108 goals in 397 appearances but has struggled to hold down a first-team place this season under manager Arsene Wenger.
Neither club disclosed the transfer fee but British media said Everton paid about 20 million pounds ($27.59 million) for the England international, who completed a medical on Wednesday.
“I‘m very ambitious and I’ve come here because I want the club to push to the next level,” Walcott told Everton’s website. “And with the players that have come in, I feel like the next level can be reached.”
Everton have won the league title nine times but not since 1987 and their last major trophy was their fifth FA Cup in 1995.
“The club has won trophies but I want them to win trophies now,” added Walcott. “The manager (Sam Allardyce) is very hungry... I’ve had a couple of chats with him and straightaway I felt that hunger and that desire that he wanted from me. I need that and I wanted that.”
Walcott, who was a hot property when he joined Arsenal from Southampton in 2006 aged just 16, has made only six substitute appearances in the league this season and has featured in a total of 16 games across all competitions.
“It felt like it was time for me to move on (from Arsenal). It was sad but it’s exciting at the same time and I want to reignite my career and push Everton to win things as they have done before,” he added.
“I want to be part of something and I feel like this place will offer me that.”
The winger will be keen to re-establish himself as a starter and earn an England call-up for this year’s World Cup in Russia. He has made 47 appearances for his country, scoring eight goals.
Everton manager Sam Allardyce was keen to bolster his attacking lineup and the arrival of Walcott, along with Turkish striker Cenk Tosun who signed for the club earlier this month, will boost their frontline in the second half of the season.
($1 = 0.7248 pounds)
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris