Manchester United striker Robin van Persie will have a big influence on their bid for Arsenal contract rebel Theo Walcott. The Telegraph says Chelsea have previously made several enquiries for Walcott and, while Liverpool and Manchester City retain their interest from last summer, Sir Alex Ferguson has now also identified the 23-year-old England winger as a serious potential target.

Ferguson knows that Walcott's pace and ability to play both out wide and through the middle would provide a new attacking option to his team.

Walcott also has an established understanding and partnership with Van Persie that was crucial in helping the Holland striker finish last season as the Premier League's leading goalscorer.

Walcott said earlier this season that he was missing Van Persie at Arsenal.

The two players remain good friends as well as former team-mates. At this stage, no formal contact or offer has been made from United to Arsenal but their interest is genuine and they are now carefully monitoring the situation.