Southampton lead the chase for Theo Walcott, joining West Ham United, Newcastle United and Everton in expressing an interest in the Arsenal forward.

The Express write that the Saints want a loan move for their former player in January. However, West Ham are considering a similar offer, and Everton and Newcastle are expressing interest as well.

Everton are probably the least likely to bid, since they’re closing in on the £27m signing of a striker, which may also mean their long-running pursuit for Olivier Giroud is over.

On Wednesday night, Walcott made his fifth Premier League appearance of the season. He played two minutes of the end of Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea, which was actually longer than his previous one-minute appearance against Liverpool. He still hasn’t started a single league game for the Gunners this season.

Theo Walcott
Arsenal’s English midfielder Theo Walcott controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at The Emirates Stadium in London on March 7, 2017. Picture: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

In all other competitions, the England international has done pretty well. He’s scored four goals and provided five assists in nine Europa League, League Cup and Community Shield appearances – averaging a goal contribution every 87 minutes. But none of that has convinced Wenger to give him a chance in the league.

Walcott will be 29 in March, and England have a World Cup this summer. England manager Gareth Southgate’s made it clear that players who aren’t starting for their clubs in the league won’t be in the squad for the tournament. So if the former Southampton man wants a chance to play in Russia, he might have to move away.

Plus, if Wenger doesn’t trust the player in the league, there’s not much point keeping him around anyway. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see more developments in this story soon.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.