Former Arsenal star Theo Walcott has completed an emotional loan return Southampton after 15 years from Everton.

The 31-year-old England international joining the club’s academy in 2000 and scored five times in 22 appearances before moving to North London outfit in 2006.

Walcott later joined Everton from the Gunners in a £20m deal in January 2018 and now, he returns to Southampton on a one-year loan after spending the last three seasons at Goodison Park.

“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,” Walcott said via the club official website.

“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.”

“There is a lot of history between this club and Theo, so I know how special this will be for him and for our supporters,” said manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

“But what is most important to me is that we have signed a player who can help our squad and give us another strong option in our attack.

“Theo is someone who has all the qualities to fit well into our team and our style of play, and I know from speaking to him that he understands what we want and that he is excited to be a part of what we are doing here.

“His experience and influence will also be important for our young players. The idea is not to block their development, but for this to make it faster. From this professional, they can learn and grow as players for the future of our club.”

Walcott could make his first appearance for the club on October 17 when the Saints visit Chelsea after the international break.

 

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