Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand is stalling on signing a new contract, as Leicester City step up their pursuit to sign him ahead of the new Premier League campaign.
Ryan Bertrand, 31, has been with Southampton for the last seven years, initially joining on a season-long loan from Chelsea back in 2014. The defender saw his move become permanent the following campaign. Since arriving at St Mary’s from Chelsea, he has made over 200 Premier League appearances.
The Englishman has established himself as one of current manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s most trusted squad members; however, his current contract is set to expire in the summer and the 31-year-old is giving serious thought to exiting the Saints after seven long years.
Southampton’s winless streak was extended to eight games—the longest in the division—following a 3-0 loss to Leeds United at Elland Road on Tuesday. The massive dip in form in the last couple of months has seen Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side drop down to the bottom half of the table. And the Saints’ wretched league form is believed to playing a major role in Bertrand’s decision to not extend his stay at the club until 2024.
Leicester City flying in the Premier League
In stark contrast to Southampton’s form, Leicester City are flying at the moment and are level on points with second-placed Manchester United. The Foxes have heavily impressed under Brendan Rodgers, especially with players like Jamie Vardy, Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Marc Albrighton and Youri Tielemans linking up in the best possible way and guiding them to several victories so far this season.
James Justin’s ACL injury a big blow to the Foxes
Defensively, the Foxes have done well considering Rodgers had faced an injury crisis at the back during the early stages of the season. The Leicester manager suffered a big blow two weeks back when in-form defender James Justin was ruled out for the rest of the season after sustaining an ACL injury in the 1-0 FA Cup victory over Brighton.
Justin has been a revelation for the Midlands club this season, scoring three times in 31 games across all competitions. The 23-year-old, who had become an important player in Rodgers’ system, started all 23 Premier League games before suffering the unfortunate injury. The timescale for the defender’s return to full fitness following an ACL injury generally takes around 9-12 months, which should rule him out for the early parts of 2021/22 campaign.
A season-ending injury to Justin has now left Rodgers with Timothy Castagne, Luke Thomas and Christian Fuchs as options at left-back. But with Fuchs set to turn 35 in April and Thomas a rough diamond, Rodgers must sign an experienced left-back in summer.
Ryan Bertrand could be a decent buy
For a club like Leicester aiming for Champions League qualification next season, they must aim to add depth to the squad in certain positions. One of those is the left-back position and signing Ryan Bertrand would go a long way in adding depth to Rodgers’ squad.
Bertrand has been a fine servant for Southampton, playing over 200 league games for the club. The 19-cap England international is not only defensively solid but can contribute offensively as well. He has volumes of Premier League experience and having such a player would be a big boost for a Leicester side going places under Rodgers.
On a potential free transfer, the Foxes signing Bertrand from Southampton could turn out to be a shrewd piece of business.