Take the money for Theo - Willie

BLUES coach Willie Donachie believes Southampton should bite Arsenal's hand off and sell 16-year-old starlet Theo Walcott for £12m today.The Gunners and Chelsea have made offers for Walcott, who played against Ipswich Town in the FA Youth Cup final last season, but the player has shown a preference to join Arsenal.

By Derek Davis

BLUES coach Willie Donachie believes Southampton should bite Arsenal's hand off and sell 16-year-old starlet Theo Walcott for £12m today.

The Gunners and Chelsea have made offers for Walcott, who played against Ipswich Town in the FA Youth Cup final last season, but the player has shown a preference to join Arsenal.

Speaking ahead of Town's visit to Southampton tomorrow, former Scotland international Donachie would not be prepared to pay that much for the dynamic young striker because it would be too much of a gamble - but he would advise his chairman to sell if in that position.


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Donachie said: “It is not up to me of course, but I would not pay £12m for Walcott. I would tell my chairman to take it.

“Between 16 and 19 a lot of things can happen to a player. A lot of 16 year-olds don't really progress - they stay the same, so for me it would be a big gamble.

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“The amount of money being offered shows the lack of good players there is around.”

Donachie was standing in for Blues boss Joe Royle, who had a regular check-up at the doctors, and hinted Town might make a couple of changes for the trip to St Mary's from the side that drew 1-1 with second-placed Sheffield United last Saturday. He said: “It is possible that we stick with the same, but Joe may look to change as you can't expect the young players to be consistent for the whole season.

“He may change it with the likes of Danny Haynes starting one game, then a sub and Owen Garvan not starting all the time. They are just not physically strong enough to play every week, just yet.

“Southampton have one in Theo Walcott and he doesn't play every week.”

The Blues drew 2-2 at home to Southampton, with Garvan and Richard Naylor twice putting the Blues ahead, but Donachie thinks George Burley's side will differ from the one Harry Redknapp brought to Portman Road.

He said: “The change is they seem to be going for young players, whereas with the team Harry brought here they were going for experience.

“You know George's team will always try to play football and move the ball around, which will suit us.

“It will take George time to embed his philosophy on the team, but he will get there.

“We are similar teams, although hopefully we are more settled than Southampton. We have been working on what we want for a while now and the players are getting close to it.”

Town will be without Nicky Forster and Sam Parkin, while Adam Proudlock is back in training and pencilled in for reserve game against West Ham on Tuesday.

AN EADT poll saw 80% vote in favour of the club's stance over would-be director Michael Anderson.

They answered “yes” to the question: “Has Ipswich Town done the right thing in handing back Michael Anderson's money because of past links to other clubs?”

Only 20% thought the club had not done the right thing in the poll on the EADT website www.eadt.co.uk

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