Saints are hoping for a reunion with former star Theo Walcott as they bid to bring in fresh faces to keep them in the Premier League.

The Daily Echo understands that Walcott, who left St Mary’s 12 years ago, is a genuine target for Saints during the January transfer window.

The Arsenal star, who grew up in north Hampshire and came through the Saints academy, is believed to be interested in a move back home, with first team football also allowing him the chance to revive his England World Cup hopes.

There are stumbling blocks to a potential deal, however.

Arsenal are thought to want to finalise the future of striker Alexis Sanchez before letting Walcott leave. There is also the matter of the player’s wages, which are reported to be in excess of £100,000-a-week, which is far beyond what Saints pay their current top earners.

Saints could also face competition from a raft of other clubs, and would prefer a loan move, which might not be palatable to Arsenal if they receive good offers from elsewhere for a permanent transfer.

However, the lure of a return to the club where he grew up and made his name could be a deciding factor for the 28-year-old.

Saints boss Pellegrino wasn’t to be drawn on the possibility of a deal, but also didn’t rule it out.

He said: “I think we are on the market ready to try to bring somebody that wants to come.

“I know that will be difficult because in January it is not easy to bring players.

“The market is huge and I think we have some opportunities.

“We have four, five or six targets, we have got confidence that someone else can come.

“There are many players that we have got interest but I can’t say anything.

“Obviously Walcott is an excellent player but I can’t confirm this.”

Saints have money to spend after the £75m sale of Virgil van Dijk, and Pellegrino confirmed he is targeting attacking players.

“I think right now in our offence because we have Charlie a couple of months out,” he reckoned.

“We need somebody that can replace him, especially with similar qualities.

“This is more or less our priority now.”

Pellegrino was asked straight out whether he thought Walcott could be persuaded to join Saints and replied: “I don’t know. In the market you never know until the end.

“Obviously we are talking about an excellent player.”

Saints are treading a fine line between trying not to overpay in January and be held to ransom because clubs know they have the van Dijk money, but also getting in what they need.

“It depends on the market and if the Southampton board decide to pay for Southampton,” insisted Pellegrino.

“When you need somebody it depends on both parts of the business. It doesn’t depend 100 per cent of us but the other part too.

“For this reason I don’t want to talk too much about the market because I can’t control this.”