Danny Ings has sent a message to Southampton and the club’s fans after his £30m move to Aston Villa was confirmed last week.
News of the striker’s transfer to Villa Park came as a shock for many with the expectation that he would end up at a Champions League club. It is certainly a coup for Villa, who have seemingly drawn in Ings with their own ambitions for the future.
Saints will have their work cut out to find a suitable replacement before the end of August. Ings scored 46 goals and set up a further 10 in exactly 100 competitive games for the club after his arrival, initially on-loan, in 2018.
Taking to Instagram, Ings sent a short message to Saints that described how he felt “special” every time he played for his “hometown club”.
Southampton did all they could with Ings but must make progress from here
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It is well documented that Saints made Ings a contract offer that would have made him the highest-paid player at the club. This would have secured the 29-year-old to very respectable terms through the prime years of his career.
However, it seems Ings himself was not convinced that Saints could match his desires with their results on the pitch. Now the club must do all they can to make sure that things change in the future.
After Europa League qualification in 2016/17, Saints switched their approach to things. They tried to sign more established talent to compete with the bigger clubs after having so much success signing young players looking to prove themselves.
Now they need to stick to this young and unproven blueprint but make sure they build a team capable of getting them close to Europe again or perhaps a cup win under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Stability close to the top end of the Premier League will mean they then have a better opportunity to keep players like Ings around to keep things moving forward for a longer period of time.