THEO WALCOTT will join Southampton on a permanent basis following his release from Everton.
The ex-England man, 32, is among a clutch of players the Toffees will let go when their contracts expire at the end of this month, along with Yannick Bolasie and Josh King.
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhutl was impressed with Walcott’s contribution following the forward’s loan to St Mary’s in the second half of the season.
Last month the South-Coast club revealed they had agreed in principle to sign Walcott on a two-year deal after his exit from Merseyside.
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He became the youngest-ever Southampton first team player at 16 years and 143 days, after coming on as a substitute in a 0–0 Championship draw against Wolves.
Walcott won two FA Cup medals with the Gunners and was capped 47 times by England.
But he has always seen Southampton as his football home.
He declared: "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 would like to say a huge thank you to the club, my teammates and the fans for making me feel so welcome back here.
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“I can’t wait to continue pulling on the shirt in the next couple of seasons.”
Winger Walcott added :"I would also like to say thank you to everyone at Everton who have been so good to me throughout my time with the club.
“I wish them every success in the future."
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