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Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has refused to confirm whether he is interested in bringing “excellent” Theo Walcott back to the club from Arsenal.
The Saints are expected to be among the more active sides in the January transfer window, having just received a £75m cash injection from Virgil van Dijk’s sale to Liverpool.
Walcott is one of many players to have been linked with the south coast side, as well as Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge and Fulham youngster Ryan Sessegnon, but Pellegrino – offered the “full backing” of Southampton’s board following a poor run – is giving nothing away at this stage.
“There are many players that we have interest in,” he told reporters. “I can’t say anything because, obviously Walcott is an excellent player, but I can’t confirm this. We are in the market ready to try to bring somebody that wants to come but I know it will be difficult.
“In January it is not easy to bring in players but the market is huge and I think we will have some opportunities. We have got a couple of targets, four, five, six targets.
“We have confidence that someone else can come and it will be great for us. We are looking for a player that can improve the level of the squad. In the market you never know until the end.”
Arsenal attacker Walcott emerged through Southampton’s youth ranks before moving to North London in 2006 at the age of 16.