Fifteen years after departing the club, Theo Walcott has re-joined Southampton – the club where he began his professional career – from Everton on a season-long loan.
Walcott joined the Southampton youth system in 2000, making his debut as a 16-year-old in 2005, before moving to Arsenal the following January.
“I was seriously lost for words when Southampton came on the table, and for me it was such an easy decision,” Walcott told Southampton’s official club 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. 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.”
Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl added: “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. 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.”