Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has reiterated that he sees his star striker Danny Ings remaining at the club next season.
Ings proved his quality and importance to Saints once again on Tuesday night by scoring a brilliantly taken brace against Crystal Palace, but his contract running into its final year means rumours about his future continue to rumble on.
Speaking ahead of his side’s Premier League clash with Fulham, Hasenhuttl said:
"“Strikers of his quality normally cost money that we don’t have to pay them or to sign them. But I’m very confident that Ingsy stays next year with us."
Southampton’s confidence on Ings seems to be growing
Although Saints fans will still not be entirely convinced that they will be seeing Ings in a red and white shirt in 2021/22, positive messages have come from Hasenhuttl and club CEO Martin Semmens recently.
During the recent fans’ forum, Semmens said he thought Ings would commit to the club during the upcoming summer, although he also reminded fans that players are not robots and can make their own choices.
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There does seem to be a shift here though. Answers to questions on the subject before had seen Hasenhuttl and Semmens not giving a lot away, but now their approach has changed and there may be reasons for this.
Many of the top clubs in England will be looking to sign a striker this summer but they will be looking for much more than goalscoring ability. Sell-on value, age and star attraction may be what they want too.
Ings is undoubtedly the star at Saints, but will he be what other clubs need? He will give them goals when he plays, but he has been injured a fair amount this year. At 28, he is also getting towards the age of 30 which sees an outfield player classed as past their peak.
If a club like Manchester United or Manchester City were to end up with Ings instead of one of Europe’s bigger and younger stars, supporters may be disgruntled – even though he may be just as effective – and there would not be less time to build around him.
For every party involved in this situation, there are huge complexities and it will be interesting to see what comes of it this summer.