Former England international and Reading target Theo Walcott has announced his departure from Southampton.

The Berkshire-raised winger, who previously played for Newbury, made his name at Arsenal.

Playing over 300 times for the Gunners, and picking up nearly half a century of caps for England, the 34-year-old has been at Southampton since 2021.

The Saints were relegated, finishing bottom of the Premier League, and the veteran has announced he is leaving the club that gave him his professional debut as a 16 year old.

Paul Ince was interested in bringing Walcott to Reading last season, joining fellow former England teammate Andy Carroll at the SCL Stadium.

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It is thought that Ince's side were wanting to pick him up as a free agent, as the club has already used all of its allotted loan spaces.

However a move never materialised as Southampton decided to keep the winger, who scored twice.

Stating his desire to continue playing on social media, he said: "Today marks my last appearance in a Saints shirt and I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone at Southampton - it’s a fantastic club with incredible people.

"I am really disappointed for the fans that we weren’t able to stay in the Premier League this season, but I am certain the club will be back there again soon. Thanks to all of you for your support right back to my debut aged 16 years old. I would like to wish the team and fans every success for the future.

"My aim is to continue playing and I’m looking forward to the next challenge…"