Southampton have confirmed that they have released 11 players as they start to prepare for the 2021/22 season.
An official club statement told fans that senior players Ryan Bertrand, Josh Sims and Jake Hesketh will all be looking for a new club during the build-up to the upcoming campaign.
Academy players David Agbontohoma, Lucas Defise, Pascal Kpohomouh, Kingsley Latham, Kameron Ledwidge, James Morris, Thomas O’Connor and Tommy Scott were also included in the released list.
Getting 11 names off their books is the first of what will potentially be a busy summer for the club in terms of incomings and outgoings.
Time for players to rebuild careers away from Southampton
Ryan Bertrand is by far the biggest name on this list given that he was at the club for seven years and made 240 appearances in that time.
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He arrived with big shoes to fill after Luke Shaw left for Manchester United in a big money deal, but looking back he has certainly been a bargain based on his own £12m fee.
The former England international became a key part of a strong team under Ronald Koeman after a big summer rebuild and Saints have not had to look for a new left-back since then – a credit to Bertrand’s professionalism and his ability to stretch consistency over long periods of a season.
Saints were said to have made a contract offer to him that was not acceptable from his point of view and he has been linked with a move to Leicester City and Arsenal as he looks for the right club to join next.
Jake Hesketh and Josh Sims also made senior appearances for Saints and both were seen as big prospects for the future at one time. Hesketh broke through under Koeman, whilst Sims became a first-team player in 2017.
Hesketh made four appearances for Saints in all and his personal highlight was a goal in the League Cup against Crystal Palace. Sims played 27 times in all at senior level and will be best remembered for his assist for Shane Long’s goal at Anfield in the League Cup semi-finals.
Both have since had numerous loan spells away and will be well set to build decent senior careers into the future. The other academy players released will also be looking for clubs where they have the best opportunity to make it to first-team level.