THEO WALCOTT has revealed he could've joined Chelsea before he was snapped up by Southampton.
The England international joined Saints' academy from Swindon in 2000 at the tender age of 11.
Walcott spent six years at St Mary's before completing a big-money move to Arsenal, where he ended up playing the bulk of his career.
But his journey could've been a whole lot different had he and his family opted to accept Chelsea's approach for his services when he was a youngster.
Walcott recalled Chelsea's interest in signing him during an interview with Daily Mail columnist Jamie Redknapp, saying: "Every time I think of your Dad I smile.
"Before joining Southampton's academy, Chelsea showed an interest in signing me."
Chelsea's eagerness to impress Walcott by showing him the first team and their facilities ultimately ended up having a detrimental effect on their bid to sign the youngster.
He added: "They scared the s*** out of me, to be honest! They showed me the first team, the dressing room. I'm seeing Gianfranco Zola, all these guys. That was a lot to take.
"Southampton just showed me the academy side. They didn't show me anything to do with the first team.
"You don't need to be overwhelmed or distracted. That's why I went to Southampton."
Walcott got a vibe from Saints that he didn't from the Blues, adding: "It felt right, like a family club. Chelsea was too much to handle at that age."
Chelsea – as well as defending Premier League champions Liverpool – resumed their interest in Walcott before his move to Arsenal.
Walcott believes he made the right decision joining the Gunners, saying: "There were a few other clubs, Liverpool and Chelsea, but I felt this was the right club.
"I loved every minute of my Arsenal career.
"I scored over 100 goals and won two or three FA Cups – I say 'two or three' because I was injured for the 2014 final, so I don't know if I can count it!"
Walcott is back where it all started as he's currently on a season-long loan at Southampton from Everton.
The 31-year-old is enjoying his football again under the tutelage of Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.
He said: "We're part of something now. It's a good place to be, especially when the league is so open.
"I'm not saying Southampton are going to win it. Who knows? But we're in a position where not many teams would want to play Southampton right now.
"We're so hungry for success. Everyone works for each other and we have a manager whose philosophy we believe in."
Walcott and his Southampton team-mates will be back in action on Boxing Day, travelling to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham.
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