Southampton look to have been handed a blow in their hopes of Danny Ings signing a new contract with the club, after it was reported earlier this week that the former Liverpool man is keen on a move to a team playing in Europe.
The Saints have been in negotiations with their star striker over a new deal since the summer but appear to have reached an impasse with Ings and his agent.
The Southampton Athletic reporter Dan Sheldon has suggested that the reason behind the stalemate in talks is due to a disagreement over a release clause, rather than the wages offered.
He reports that if the 28-year-old were to accept Southampton’s current offer, he would become the highest-paid player at the club, something which Ings is happy with.
However, the striker feels that signing a new deal with the South Coast club would potentially rule out any chance he has of signing for the likes of Manchester United or Manchester City in the future, as they are unlikely to offer a fee which Southampton would accept.
Therefore, he is keen to insert a release clause into any new contract, to ensure that if those ‘top-four’ clubs come knocking, then they won’t be priced out of a move. However, it seems as if the two parties are yet to agree on a fee.
This is, of course, a tricky situation for Hasenhuttl’s side, as Ings has been a huge part of their improved form over the past 18 months or so. After all, he finished last year’s Premier League with 22 goals, and has seven goals in the top-flight already this season.
The former Burnley striker’s importance to this Southampton team cannot be underestimated, as we have seen in recent weeks how much they struggle to score goals without him.
Hasenhuttl’s side have scored just once in their past five Premier League fixtures, in the 1-0 win against Liverpool, where Ings got the winner against his old side.
When the England international was missing against Fulham and Leicester City, much of Southampton’s attacking impetus was lost.
Former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe dubbed Ings “hugely impressive” last season for the way he was able to turn his career around after his injury troubles at Liverpool.
Therefore, whilst it might not be financially sensible to offer Ings a lucrative new deal, only for him to leave once his release clause is activated, it is a risk that Martin Semmens and the Southampton board must take. That way they could have a striker with a new motivation who can help Southampton achieve European football of their own this term.
And, in other news… Forget JWP: 6 ft 2 Saints beast who had 112 touches was Hasenhuttl’s FA Cup star