Arsenal may consider letting the England forward leave this month, with Walcott on the periphery of Arsene Wenger’s first-team plans.
And Everton are confident that they can beat the Saints to Walcott’s signature this month.
Everton would be able to get close to Walcott’s current deal, worth £110,000 per week; while Southampton’s financial limits would mean the 28-year-old would need to take pay cut to rejoin the club where he started his career.
However, if Walcott prefers not to uproot his young family from the south of England, Southampton may well find themselves in pole position to land the player.
Walcott seems certain to leave the Emirates in the summer given his lack of action so far this season.
However, much could depend on whether Alexis Sanchez moves on this month, with Wenger unlikely to sanction exits for both Walcott and the Chilean without having replacements lined up.