Theo Walcott completed a move from Arsenal to Everton in a £20m deal in January 2018, becoming the Blues' second signing in that transfer window.
The then 28-year-old followed Turkish striker Cenk Tosun through the door as interim manager, Sam Allardyce, and
Director of Football, Steve Walsh, looked to strengthen a forward line that had struggled to put shots on target
let alone score goals in recent matches.
Everton reportedly beat off competition from Walcott's former club, Southampton, to secure the England international's signature on a 3½-year contract and take their spending for January past the £40m mark.
Despite scoring 19 goals in 2016-17, Walcott had become peripheral figure at the Emirates Stadium and hadn't started a Premier League game under Arsene Wenger since April 2017. He no doubt viewed his move to Goodison Park as a fresh start where he could put himself back into the mind of England manager Gareth Southgate ahead of the World Cup in Russia.
He joined Arsenal in January 2006 for £5m and has since earned 47 England caps but wasn't selected for Euro2016 and has since been overlooked by Southgate. In all, Walcott made 270 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, scoring 65 goals and providing 43 assists, having scored 4 times in 21 games for the Saints with whom he started his professional career in 2005.
Walcott said the lure of working with Allardyce helped him make up
his mindto join Everton.
"Sam was one of the main reasons why I came to the club,” he told Sky
Sports. “I wanted a manager like that who could get the best out of me. I had that short stint with Sam with England, and to see it now
every day, the way the intensity of training is and how demanding it is,
has been great."
He was instrumental in giving Everton their first win of 2018,
scoring both goals in the 2-1 defeat of
Leicester City, but could
do nothing to reverse the ritual slaughter that befell his new team when
they were severely humbled on his first visit back to the Emirates, the kind of meek surrender that did little to endear supporters to Allardyce who was sacked the following May.
Walcott was installed as first-choice on the right wing by Ronald Koeman's long-term successor, Marco Silva, and initially seemed to thrive under the new regime but his form quickly and myseriously fell away and over the second half of the campaign he was replaced on the right flank by Richarlison who had enjoyed an impressive first season at Goodison after arriving from Watford.
Walcott flickered back to life in the closing games of the 2018-19 campaign, scoring goals against Manchester United and Tottenham as Everton secured eighth place but doubts over his ability to hold down a starting role had been sown and speculation that he might be moved on for someone younger surfaced when the close season transfer window opened.
Though not a true winger, it was another former Gunner in the form of Alex Iwobi who arrived that summer and who would find himself deployed in a wide-right role in Walcott's stead as the veteran again struggled to justify his reputation. Walcott scored just two Premier League goals all season but without a consistent alternative, he kept finding himself in the side when he was fit, making 25 Premier League appearances in all in 2019-20.
With Carlo Ancelotti having taken over after Silva was sacked and the Blues moving decisively in the summer 2020 transfer window to sign James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, Walcott was moved to the fringes of the first-team setup and eventually secured a loan move back to Southampton on transfer deadline day in October that year where he would see out the remainder of his Everton contract before agreeing a two-year deal with the Saints in May 2021.
*Operating with Director of Football, Steve Walsh
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* Everton deducted 6 points for PSR breachView full table