Danny Ings has rejected a new contract at Southampton, which leaves Ralph Hasenhuttl with a tough decision to make regarding the striker’s future at St Mary’s.
According to The Athletic, the 28-year-old striker has rejected a four-year contract offer from the South Coast club, one which would have comfortably made him the highest-paid player at St Mary’s, as he has expressed his desire to play at a higher level.
The England international made it clear earlier in the year that he wanted to play for a side competing in Europe, so after Southampton’s collapse in the second half of last season’s Premier League, it was perhaps always going to be tough for Hasenhuttl to keep him around.
Although the Austrian has suggested in the past that Ings won’t be leaving this summer, he must now decide whether or not to cash in on the former Liverpool man while he still can, as Ings will be free to leave for nothing at the end of next season when his current contract expires.
The likes of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with the talismanic striker in recent months, which suggests that an exit could well be on the cards after this contract development, but there is a risk that Southampton could seriously struggle in his absence.
Last season saw the striker finish as the Saints’ top scorer with 12 goals, despite regular injury problems, and the season before that, he hit 22 goals in the top-flight, which emphasises just how important he is in this Southampton side.
Therefore, there is a real risk that the financial boost of selling him this summer would be outweighed by the potential threat of relegation next season without him, as there is no guarantee that the likes of Che Adams, or a new striker, would be able to step up should the “outstanding” Ings depart.
It is undoubtedly a huge blow for Hasenhuttl that one of his most influential players is clearly keen to leave and it will be interesting to see whether or not Ings remains a Southampton player by the time the Premier League season kicks off next month.
This update is likely to have Saints fans fuming as their club are pretty much in a lose-lose situation. They either sell Ings this summer to get a decent fee for him or lose him for free in a year’s time. Either way, it’s far from ideal for Southampton.
And, in other news… Southampton missed out on “fantastic” beast dominating Euro 2020