Chelsea challenge Man Utd for Arsenal rebel Walcott

Chelsea are ready to trump Manchester United for want-away Arsenal star Theo Walcott.

The Sun says Blues boss Rafa Benitez is confident of getting his man as the £15million-rated winger would not have to uproot from London.

Liverpool are long-term admirers and both Manchester United and Manchester City are keen.

But Chelsea have sent a scout to watch Walcott — and plan to use him as a more central attacker, a role the England man craves.

Interim boss Benitez will have cash to spend in next month’s transfer window.

He rates Walcott’s lightning pace as a huge asset as he looks to land a player to support Fernando Torres.

The forward, 23, has refused to sign a new £80,000-a-week contract at Arsenal — and can leave for nothing next summer when his current deal runs out.

The Gunners know they could still raise around £15m for the player by selling him in January.

Walcott is likely to try to wait until the summer before moving.

As a free agent he could command a signing-on fee of around £3m plus £90,000-a-week wages.

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