Yoshida decides to stay with Southampton

According to the Daily Echo, Southampton defender Maya Yoshida has decided to stay with the club despite strong interest from Saudi Arabia.

What’s the story?

Southampton managed to fight off the threat of relegation to survive in the Premier League on the final weekend of the 2017-18 campaign.

The futures of a number of their first-team players are said to be up in the air, however, and Yoshida has been linked with a move away from St Mary’s.

It is understood that Saudi Arabian champions Al-Hilal wanted to bring the centre-back to the club this summer.

However, according to the Daily Echo, Yoshida is settled in Southampton, and the experienced centre-back is not interested in leaving at this stage of his career.

The 29-year-old is currently preparing to represent Japan at this summer’s World Cup in Russia, and looks set to still be a Southampton player entering the 2018-19 campaign.

How big a boost is it for Southampton?

There are a number of Southampton players who underperformed last season, but it would be fair to say that Yoshida was pretty consistent throughout the campaign.

Question marks have surrounded the centre-back over the last couple of years, but he has developed into a good defender at this level of football, and has made more than 150 appearances for Southampton since a move from VVV-Venlo in the summer of 2012.

The Saints are said to be on the verge of handing Mark Hughes a three-year contract, and the news surrounding Yoshida will be a huge boost for the Welshman.

Valued at £6.3m by transfermarkt.co.uk, Yoshida actually picked up a red card against Everton in the latter stages of the 2017-18 Premier League season, but the sending-off did not prove decisive as his teammates beat Swansea City in his absence.

It is shaping up to be a very interesting summer for Southampton, but it seems that they will be able to count on Yoshida for next season.