Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse put any speculation about his future to bed after signing a new five-year deal with the club on Thursday.
Strong links to Aston Villa were consistent throughout this summer transfer window and it was expected that the Villans would make an offer in the final days of the window. However, any chance of a move this summer has been removed completely with the surprise announcement of a new contract.
Speaking to southampton fc.com, he said:
"“I’m not finished yet here, I still have a lot left to give to this football club and I want to be there leading this team and ensuring I can give everything back and repay that faith the club have shown in me since I was eight-years-old.”"
Southampton’s main man proves he never really wanted to move
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Before speaking about how he feels he has so much more to to offer Saints, Ward-Prowse spoke about “pride” and how he was the “happiest man in the world” having been able to commit further years of his career to Saints.
This really shows that a move was not on his mind this summer and thankfully he can now focus fully on his football. What is important now though is progress for Saints under his captaincy.
They have their key player tied to a five-year deal and a setup capable of producing much improved results over the next two or three seasons. Everything must be put in place around Ward-Prowse to ensure that he can reach the levels he wants to reach whilst at St Mary’s even if more offers come from other clubs in the future.
The 26-year-old already has 323 Saints appearances under his belt and there will now surely be plenty more to come. There is commitment from the player and the club and both now need to reach their full potential whilst working with each other.
Crucially, Ward-Prowse is also setting an example to those players who will come through the academy system in future years. He is the pinnacle of what can be reached with hard work at St Mary’s and represents much of what the club has always stood for.