Belfast Telegraph

Rodriguez staying with Saints

Jay Rodriguez has ended speculation over his future by signing a new and improved contract at Southampton, keeping him at St Mary's until 2019.

A ruptured anterior cruciate ligament means it has been over a year since the 25-year-old last played, but that has not prevented speculation about a summer move mounting.

Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool were among those to have reportedly shown an interest, but Rodriguez has dashed their hopes by agreeing a new deal at Southampton.

The England international's contract was due to expire next summer, but he has now penned an extension taking him through to 2019.

"I'm delighted," Rodriguez said. "It's a great club and we've done amazingly this year.

"It's been a tough year for myself being out, but I'm really delighted to sign the contract. It's now about looking forward to the future.

"The medical staff have all worked tirelessly with me, so this is great news. I just want to carry on improving now and to try to get some game time."

The last of Rodriguez's 76 Southampton appearances came at Manchester City last April, when an awkward fall ended his World Cup dreams.

That injury has kept him out ever since but the forward could well make a first-team return before the season comes to a close.

Rodriguez's return will be a big boost for Southampton, while his renewed commitment to the club is a welcome development following last summer's unparalleled talent drain.

"This is very good news for the club because there was some speculation about Jay and interest from other big clubs, so it is a compliment to the club that we have an agreement," manager Ronald Koeman told Southampton's official YouTube channel.

"It has been a difficult time for Jay who has been doing everything to come back in a good shape.

"It's a good start to the summer business for us because it shows that everyone here is convinced by what we want to achieve."

Rodriguez was not the only Southampton player approaching the last year of their contract, with Nathaniel Clyne also in the same position.

Speculation about the right-back has increased in recent months, with Manchester United strongly linked with a summer move for the England international.

The fact Clyne is out of contract next summer has fuelled talk and Saints manager Koeman has repeatedly underlined the importance of knowing whether he would sign a new and improved deal or not.

Executive director Les Reed planned to sit down with the full-back after Saturday's defeat to Leicester and it appears there is a chance he could yet stay on the south coast.

Previous talks over extending Clyne's contract have stalled, but Press Association Sport understands negotiations over a new deal have reopened.

Whether a deal can be struck is another matter, but the resumption of talks is a positive move given it appeared all but certain the 24-year-old would be heading for the exit.


From Belfast Telegraph