Farhad Moshiri must rue Steve Walsh’s decision to spend in excess of £20m to sign Theo Walcott from Arsenal as the winger’s Everton spell nears its end.
According to talkSPORT, Walcott will complete a free transfer to Southampton at the end of the season once his Everton contract expires.
The 32-year-old has spent the season on loan at St. Mary’s in a deal struck on Deadline Day in October, and has impressed Saints chiefs with his efforts back at his boyhood club.
Walcott has two goals and three assists in 19 appearances in all competitions under Ralph Hasenhuttl, having added to his tally against Burnley last Sunday on his return from an 11-game spell out with a hamstring injury.
Southampton are expected to hand Walcott a long-term contract to remain on the south coast once his Everton deal expires in June, as there is a big desire from both parties to seal a permanent move.
The Saints are claimed to have been “absolutely blown away” by the former England international both on and off the pitch, with his leadership a key presence in the St. Mary’s dressing room.
Southampton are now working on finalising Walcott’s contract as soon as possible to avoid the winger being tempted by another club, and could announce a deal in the not-too-distant future.
Everton allowed Walcott to join Southampton on loan for the season as they wished to offload a large chunk of his £100,000-per-week wage, as the deal made him one of the top-earners at Goodison Park, per Spotrac figures.
Walcott had also struggled for game time under Carlo Ancelotti following the Italian’s arrival in December 2019, with the 47-cap Three Lions dynamo opening 12 of his 17 appearances across all competitions.
The Toffees knew they would not see Walcott back at Goodison Park without agreeing on a new contract when they rubber-stamped his move to the Saints, but did so as the deal saw Hasenhuttl’s side agree to cover 50% of his salary.
That has saved Everton £1.9m in wages, on top of the £14.1m paid out over the 141 weeks between joining from Arsenal in a deal worth over £20m and returning to St. Mary’s after 14 years away – totalling a minimum outlay of £36m.
That breaks down to £3.3m per goal, £4m an assist, £1.8m for each goal involvement, £643k per start and £423.5k for each appearance in royal blue, to see Walcott go down as a costly disaster for Everton that Moshiri will no doubt rue giving Walsh the green light to sign.