Southampton have signed Theo Walcott on loan from Everton as the winger returns to the club after 14 years away.

He would go on to join Arsenal several months later after making 23 appearances and scoring five goals.

And now, he’ll return to Southampton on a one-year loan after spending the last three seasons with Everton.

“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.

“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.”

Walcott spent 12 years with Arsenal after leaving Southampton, making 397 appearances and scoring 108 goals.

He joined Everton in 2018, scoring 11 goals in 85 appearances before sealing a return to his former club on transfer deadline day.

“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.”

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