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Arsenal completed the signing of 16-year-old forward Theo Walcott from Southampton for an initial £5million fee on this day in 2006.

The Saints academy graduate had struck five times during the first half of the campaign and made the switch to the Emirates in a deal which would eventually cost £9.1million.

On his 17th birthday in March the player signed his first professional deal with the north London club and two months later he would dominate headlines across the globe again.

Soccer – FA Cup – Final – Arsenal v Aston Villa – Wembley Stadium
Walcott won the FA Cup twice with Arsenal (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Walcott, having not played a single minute for the Gunners, was selected by Sven-Goran Eriksson for England’s World Cup squad and made his international bow in May as a substitute in a friendly against Hungary.

Despite injuries to other attacking options, the teenager was not used in Germany and had to wait until August to make his Arsenal debut.

In a 12-year spell at the club Walcott scored 108 times in 397 appearances and won the FA Cup twice.

He left in January 2018 to join Everton but returned to Southampton on a season-long loan deal before making the move permanent and retired in August 2023 at the age of 34.

Soccer – Barclays Premier League – Arsenal v Aston Villa – Emirates Stadium
Walcott scored 108 times for Arsenal (Nick Potts/PA)

Walcott’s final England appearance came in 2016 and he failed to build on his early promise, having become the youngest player to score a hat-trick for the Three Lions with a treble against Croatia in September 2008.

Across a decade of international football, the winger made 47 appearances for his country but only played at one major tournament – Euro 2012 – due to a combination of injuries and a failure to be selected.