Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl remains hopeful that key striker Danny Ings will sign a new contract, as negotiations continue.
The England international’s current deal expires in 2022. And the boss admits the financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic were making things “tricky”.
Hasenhuttl is a big fan of the player and knows just what he brings to the club.
“This is not a big surprise when I say he is very important for our game, he knows this, we know this,” he said. “We have won games without him – but for the long term, (when he is out for a long time) we really feel it and the quality he has is definitely outstanding and definitely important for us.
“It is (difficult) for us as a club to sub him or to use somebody who is at the same level as he is, so this is also why we really tried to extend his contract, this is not a surprise and not a secret.”
Saints face Shrewsbury in their rescheduled FA Cup third-round tie on Tuesday. They sit eighth in the top-flight standings, with Ings playing a big part in proceedings.
Hasenhuttl wants the impasse to have a positive outcome but knows the current world situation makes it tough.
“I think everybody is losing a lot of money at the moment with this crisis we are going through, so we can only do what we are able to do and what is still (financially) healthy for us and that’s why we are looking I think,” he added.
“Danny chose to be with us, he wants to be with the club and we know that he’s an important player for us and I’m still hoping that we find an agreement and then finally he stays with us.”
Youngster out for six months
And the problems deepened with the news Will Smallbone faces six months out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. The 20-year-old midfielder was forced off in the 61st minute against the Foxes.
Hasenhuttl added: “After the last game we have another one, another big injury with Will Smallbone. It’s an ACL injury, so half a year out maybe. It’s horrible for the young lad and for us.
“At the moment with these injuries it is definitely not our best side to be honest, but there are maybe some circumstances at the moment in this strange season which leads to a lot of problems with injuries that we didn’t have the whole of last season.”
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