Saints forward Theo Walcott to return on permanent basis

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Theo Walcott Credit: Peter Cziborra/PA Wire/PA Images

Southampton Football Club has confirmed it has reached an 'agreement in principle' with Theo Walcott for the forward to return to Saints on a permanent basis.

Academy graduate Walcott has been on loan at St Mary’s from Everton this season, and he will now sign a two-year contract after his current deal with the Merseyside club expires at the end of June.It will complete a poignant homecoming for the 32-year-old, who came onto the scene in 2005 when he made his first-team debut at the age of 16.Walcott, who scored his first senior goal against Leeds United, then went on to a 12-year spell as an Arsenal player, earning 47 England caps in the process, before transferring to Everton in January 2018.He returned to Saints in October 2020, joining on a temporary basis for the current season, in which he has made 22 appearances and scored three goals, the most recent of which came in Saturday’s 3-1 home win over Fulham.

Southampton's Theo Walcott scores their side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Credit: Peter Cziborra/PA Wire/PA Images

Speaking about this return to the club, Walcott said: “I’m not sure I can properly express how happy I am about this. Southampton is a club that means so much to me, and it has been incredibly special for me to have spent this season back at St Mary’s.

"But to now have the opportunity to return for a further two years means such a great deal to me, both personally and professionally.""I can’t wait to continue pulling on the shirt in the next couple of seasons. Hopefully in that time we can make a few more special memories too.Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl added: “Theo has been a very good influence for us this season. He is a very professional player who does things in the right way and has a very positive impact not only on our young players but on the dressing room as a whole.“He understands the way we want to play, he has shown great commitment and he has also shown how he can be an important part of our game. I think he is a player who can continue to help us in these next two years, so I am pleased that he has agreed to stay with us.”