The Toffees confirmed in January 2018 that the 28-year-old had completed a move to the club, signing a three-and-a-half-year contract having spent almost all of his senior career with Arsenal.
During his time with the north London club, he hit 108 goals in 397 appearances but he would show no such form in Merseyside, registering just 11 goals and nine assists in 85 appearances for the club.
The 2020/21 season saw Walcott shipped to Southampton on loan as the club looked to ease their wage expenditure and inevitably, after a year on the south coast, the former England international completed a permanent move back to the club where it all started for him.
To sign a player for £20m and let him leave on loan the season before his contract ends represented awful business by the Toffees, as surely they could have simply sold him to Southampton the season before to avoid losing him for nothing, as even a minimal fee is better than nothing.
It was clear from when Walcott signed that he was no longer at his best, as he featured in just 63 minutes of Premier League action for Arsenal in the 2017/18 season before his January switch to Everton, which again begs the question of why the club felt he was worth £20m.
It has been a sad decline to Walcott’s career after he showed such promise as a youngster with the Gunners, with the 2012/13 season perhaps the best of his career, when he managed 12 goals and 13 assists in the top flight.
During a strong run of form in 2016, Arsenal legend Lee Dixon sang the winger’s praises, saying:
“His speed and quality on the ball is unquestionable.
“Now all of a sudden he is unplayable. He is thinking about the game. It seems like he has turned into a different player.”
Unfortunately for Everton, just two years later and he was unplayable in a different sense, in that you couldn’t justify his selection anymore because his performances were so poor, as he averaged a shocking 6.51 rating from WhoScored in his first full season with the club.
While the Toffees have signed some poor players in their history, the deal to sign Walcott and then release him a few years later will surely go down as one of the board’s worst transfer decisions.