‘Disappointing’: Manager admits Southampton ace wanted to leave


Reading manager Paul Ince admitted in an interview with Berkshire Live that Southampton’s lost Premier League player Theo Walcott wanted to join the Championship’s top players before the deal fell through.

Nathan Redmond announced his departure from the South Coast club on Thursday afternoon. The former England under-21 international has joined Turkish giants Besiktas on a short-term deal after falling out of favor under Ralph Hasenhuttl.

However, another rarely seen wideout will have to wait until the New Year if he wishes to follow Redmond out the door.

Photo: Visionhaus/Getty Images

Walcott has yet to play a single minute of Premier League football in the 2021/22 season. And the 33-year-old, reportedly Southampton’s £75,000-a-week top earner, will now have no choice but to fight for his place at St Mary’s after Reading tried and failed to free Walcott from a life in the shadows.

“We were close to doing a deal for Theo Walcott,” explains Ince.

“I spoke with him.” We had a good chat. But he had a year left at Southampton and we couldn’t make the numbers work, which is disappointing because the lad wanted to come.

“So now it’s about who’s out there on the loose.

Theo Walcott is stuck at Southampton after missing out on a Championship move

Reading, despite their well-publicized off-field issues, continue to confound expectations in the second tier. One of the pre-season relegation favourites, they are currently third in the table, just two points behind league leaders Sheffield United after winning five of their first eight games of the new campaign.

Walcott was also final day for Cardiff City. Plus, a West Brom side that is below expectations despite some eye-catching summer arrivals.

For Telegraph reporter John Percy, the Baggies could instead bring free agent Tom Rogic to the Hawthorns. A supremely talented playmaker with a penchant for the spectacular, the Australian international is available after leaving Celtic in the summer.

“We are very sad to see both Tom and Nir (Bitton) leave the club. We fully respect their decision to seek another challenge,” Celtic coach Ange Postecoglou said in May.

“As well as being very talented, both Tom and Nir are the best guys and have been great supporters this year. Of course we will miss them.”

Photo credit: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

In other news, London could be in the running for the Fan Festival as Fifa update plans for the World Cup in Qatar

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