Mauricio Pellegrino coy on Theo Walcott's rumoured return to Southampton
By Calum Wilson
Last Updated: 04/01/18 3:57pm
Mauricio Pellegrino has praised Theo Walcott amid reports that the winger is seeking a return to Southampton, but the Saints boss refused to comment on the speculation.
Southampton have emerged as favourites to sign Arsenal's out-of-favour winger and Sky Sports News understands that talks are expected between the club and Walcott's representatives in the coming weeks.
The England international, who came through the youth system at Southampton before moving to Arsenal in 2006 as a 16-year-old, is thought to be willing to take a wage cut in order to complete a deal.
Pellegrino hinted the club are looking to sign someone who wants to join them and has not ruled out Saints' interest in Walcott, but refused to comment on the player's future.
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"There are many players that we have interest in," he said. "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."
The Saints are without a win in their last nine Premier League matches and are perched perilously above the relegation zone in 17th, ahead of Stoke on goal difference.
However, under-fire Pellegrino has received the vote of confidence from Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger and the Argentine manager admits he is "lucky" to have the backing of the club.
"I am a lucky guy because these people trust in me and because I am in a really good club," Pellegrino said.
"This situation, I feel, is a big opportunity because we are working in the base of the squad and to be stronger from this difficult moment.
"Sometimes you are stronger when you past this period of time.
"I want to try and make the people proud of the team but now everybody has to be supportive."