Arsenal joined the race to sign Crystal Palace 19-yr-old prospect Wilfried Zaha

Arsenal are lining up a swoop for Theo Walcott's potential replacement after joining the race to land Crystal Palace prospect Wilfried Zaha.

Former Gunners assistant manager Pat Rice - who still works for the club despite retiring in the summer - watched the 19-year-old forward score twice in the Eagles' 4-3 win over Burnley on Saturday.

Arsenal have sent scouts to a clutch of Palace’s games primarily to watch Zaha and are now emerging as serious contenders to land the youngster.

Zaha - rated at £12million - could be the latest player to join the Gunners from lower leagues, particularly if the club fail in their attempts to sign Walcott to a new contract.

The England forward's representatives will hold talks with the Arsenal hierarchy during the international break in a bid to thrash out a new agreement.

Walcott — who has less than 12 months left on his current deal — rejected a contract extension worth £75,000-per-week.