Southampton sign Theo Walcott on loan from Everton 14 years after winger departed Saints for Arsenal

Theo Walcott has returned to Southampton, the club where he began his career as a sensational teenager, in a season-long loan from Everton.

Walcott began his professional career at Saints aged 16, bursting on to the scene in the Championship where his blistering pace quickly grew admiring glances from Premier League clubs. Arsene Wenger won the battle for Walcott’s signature and the winger spent 12 years at Arsenal, winning two FA Cups, before moving to Everton in 2018 in a £20m transfer.

However Carlo Ancelotti’s summer spending spree has seen Walcott among those players pushed to the fringes at Goodison Park, with only one late substitute appearance to speak of so far this season, and the 31-year-old has taken the opportunity to return to the south coast in the hope of more regular game time. 

Walcott said: “I had a few opportunities from other clubs, but as soon as Southampton came in for me, it’s part of me and has made me into the player I am. It’s in my heart.

“I will probably cry, I bet, when I first play, and it means so much. All the people that made it happen, I can’t thank them enough. Honestly, I’m so pleased.

“I was seriously lost for words when Southampton came on the table, and for me it was such an easy decision.

“To get the chance to work with the manager as well and these young players that are coming through, I feel like I’ve made the right choice.”

Everton and Southampton will share payment of Walcott’s wages.

Southampton also signed the 21-year-old midfielder Ibrahima Diallo from Ligue 1 club Brest on Sunday.

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