According to reports in the Daily Echo, Southampton haven’t been put off by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to sell target Theo Walcott during the January transfer window, and they are still determined to bring him to St Mary’s before the end of the month.
Well, the Daily Echo says that while Saints are keen to bring the 28-year-old winger back to the south coast 12 years after he left them for the Gunners, speaking in a press conference last week Wenger said: “I want him to stay”.
However, the Daily Echo reports that this hasn’t put the club off and they are still hopeful that they will complete a deal to bring the England international to the club to boost their attacking options.
The reports adds that the Southampton hierarchy hope that a move for Walcott would make a statement to the fans about the club’s ambitions, with the supporters frustrated by the team’s performances and results in recent weeks that have meant they are only outside of the relegation zone on goal difference.
While he has been a regular in the Europa League and the domestic cups, he has found first-team minutes hard to come by in the Premier League.
The 28-year-old has only played 49 minutes across five substitute appearances in the English top flight, while he has scored four goals and provided a further five assists in 15 appearances in total.
Walcott was part of the Arsenal team that suffered a disappointing 4-2 defeat against Nottingham Forest, and having struggled to make an impact in that game he could be more likely to leave the north London outfit before the end of the month.
It’s difficult to say and seems to hinge on a number of different factors.
Firstly, Wenger may be more reluctant to sell if Alexis Sanchez moves on before the window slams shut or if Olivier Giroud suffers a setback on his return from injury, while it is unclear whether the French manager would be willing to sanction a loan deal with his reported £30m valuation of the player likely to be too much for Saints.
The player’s wages could also prove to be an issue for the south coast outfit, but it still wouldn’t be a surprise to see him arrive at St Mary’s before January 31 as he looks to save his first club from being involved in a relegation battle as well as trying to win back his place in the England squad before the World Cup in Russia this summer.