Arsenal walk off with Walcott

Arsenal FC have won the race to sign highly-rated Southampton FC winger Theo Walcott, paying a fee that could rise as high as €17.5m for the 16-year-old.

Footballing hero
Walcott, widely regarded as the most talented player of his age in England, opted to join the Gunners - who will pay an initial €7.3m to Southampton with the fee rising depending on appearances - despite interest from Chelsea FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC. He is believed to have chosen Arsenal because he dreams of playing alongside his footballing hero Thierry Henry.

Wenger praise
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has long been an admirer of Walcott, saying: "He's a player we rate. I like the timing of his runs, his determined attitude, the fact he can play in different positions up front and he is calm in front of goal. The composure he shows in decisive moments doesn't change, and you either have that or you don't. He has determination as well as electric pace."

Consolation prize
With Walcott having scored five goals in 23 games for the south-coast club this season, Southampton were eventually tempted to sell to Arsenal, and the Londoners will hand the forward a professional contract once he turns 17 on 16 March.