Former Arsenal and Everton forward Theo Walcott recently revealed that he turned down the opportunity to replace Luis Suárez at Liverpool, some nine years ago.
The 34-year-old retired from professional football last month, marking the end of an illustrious 18-year career in English football. During that time, he spent 12 years with Arsenal, where he signed from his childhood club, Southampton, at just 16 years of age.
Walcott went on to have a successful career as a dynamic and goal-scoring winger under Arsène Wenger’s tutelage, with his most productive season coming in 2012/13, when he notched up 14 goals and 12 assists.
However, a cruciate ligament injury in the following season slowed his progress and he eventually completed a move to the other side of Stanley Park, joining Everton in 2018.
Things could have gone very differently, though. In a recent interview, Walcott told Sky Sports that he had the opportunity to join Liverpool nine years ago.
“Yes, I remember talking to Liverpool,” he said. “[It was] kinda close.”
Despite admitting to being something of a Liverpool fan in the past, he said: “It was very interesting, but it felt not quite right for me at the time.”
Big boots to fill
Had the move materialised, it would have provided Brendan Rodgers’ side with some much-needed firepower after the departure of Luis Suárez to Barcelona that year and he could have filled the void left by Raheem Sterling when he moved to Manchester City a year later.
Such a move would have also erased Walcott’s four seasons at Everton, for whom he made 85 appearances in all competitions before returning to Southampton for a final swansong.