Southampton have seemingly been in contract discussions with Ryan Bertrand for some time now but considering the left-back’s disappointing performances this season, Ralph Hasenhuttl may well be best served by letting him go in the summer rather than handing him a new deal.
The 31-year-old’s contract with the South Coast club is set to expire at the end of the season and he has reportedly attracted some interest from Arsenal in recent months.
Southampton’s only other senior left-back, Jake Vokins (excluding the injured Sam McQueen) was sent out on loan to Sunderland in January, which suggests that Hasenhuttl has a lot of faith in Bertrand as the first-choice option in his side.
The former Chelsea man has been a regular in Southampton’s team since joining permanently in 2015 and has gone on to make 236 appearances for the Saints, contributing eight goals and 20 assists.
However, his performances have certainly declined in recent seasons, with his average rating of 6.42 in the Premier League this season the worst he has produced in the last decade.
It is also the 15th-best of any Southampton player in the top-flight this season, which suggests that he has been of the poorer performers in Hasenhuttl’s squad, especially in recent months, where a run of awful form has seen the South Coast club slide down the Premier League table.
You could definitely argue that the 31-year-old has been a weak link in the Saints defence, with Jannik Vestergaard, Jan Bednarek and Kyle Walker-Peters all having been some of Hasenhuttl’s best performers so far this season.
It was suggested last year that Southampton were keen to offer Bertrand a new three-year deal, which seems extremely excessive when you consider that he will turn 32 this year and is already looking way past his best, so he could potentially still be at the club when he is 35.
The former England international also reportedly earns £70k per week at Southampton, which makes him one of the highest earners, and a new contract could see that wage increased further, which, considering his performances so far this season, feels undeserved.
Although Hasenhuttl doesn’t really have any options, other than perhaps Vokins, to replace the £9.45 million-rated Bertrand in his side at the moment, it could prove a costly mistake to extend his deal this summer, so the Austrian manager should just get rid of him and look for an alternative option in the transfer market.
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