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Matthew Le Tissier 'concerned' by Danny Ings exit talk

Matthew Le Tissier 'concerned' by Danny Ings exit talk
© Reuters
There have been reports the frontman wants to return to a Champions League club this summer.

Matt Le Tissier admits talk about Danny Ings' future is "concerning" but the Southampton great is confident the club will cope if the star striker eventually leaves.

The 28-year-old has flourished since ending an injury-hit spell at Liverpool to join his hometown club in 2018, netting 25 goals in all competitions last season and earning a well-deserved England recall.

Ings has scored seven in 14 appearances this term despite the disruption of injury and a positive coronavirus test, while the striker has been a key talking point off the pitch as Saints look to extend his deal beyond 2022.

The PA news agency understands the frontman has left talks to his agent, with a release clause rather than proposed wages the sticking point amid a report the frontman wants to return to a Champions League club this summer.

Danny Ings fired Southampton to victory over former club Liverpool earlier in the month
Danny Ings fired Southampton to victory over former club Liverpool earlier in the month (Naomi Baker/PA)

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has said "life will go on" if Ings does not sign the new and improved contact – a stance echoed by fan favourite Le Tissier.

"I haven't seen any direct quotes from Danny about it," the Saints great told the PA news agency. "When there's no direct quotes from anybody, I tend to take these with a pinch of salt having been in that industry myself!

"I mean, obviously there's going to be a concern from Saints fans because he has been the talismanic goalscorer for the last couple of seasons and his form has been excellent.

"When somebody is scoring a lot of goals at Southampton then – just like the manager situation – they are going to get interest from bigger clubs who can pay more money.

"The only thing that the fans can hope for is that Danny also has that connection with the football club and he feels the love around the football club, and that hopefully he signs a new deal at our club.

"That's obviously something that's out of everybody's hands apart from the financial people at the club.

"It's always concerning when there's rumours that one of your best players is going to be leaving the football club because you wonder how you're going to replace them.

"But we've had these situations many times in the past. You know, how are we going to replace Rickie Lambert?

Rickie Lambert failed to scale the same heights after leaving Southampton in 2014
Rickie Lambert failed to scale the same heights after leaving Southampton in 2014 (Sean Dempsey/PA)

"But we've managed to still go on, stay in the Premier League, establish ourselves after having lost players like Lambert, (Adam) Lallana, the centre-backs that we've lost in (Virgil) van Dijk and (Dejan) Lovren.

"It'll be one of those things but if it happens we just have to move on.

"I think Ralph said the same thing. You know, life goes on. Players come and go, you just have to keep working to find people to replace them."

Le Tissier is loved by the Saints faithful after an extraordinary one-club career that he has no regrets about, yet he understands the nagging 'what if' feeling Ings may feel at this stage of his career.

Matthew Le Tissier established himself as a Southampton great
Matt Le Tissier established himself as a Southampton great (Chris Ison/PA)

"It's a perfectly natural reaction to have but, you know, sometimes the grass isn't always greener on the other side," Le Tissier said, speaking as part of his support for Prostate Cancer UK.

"You look at kind of the direction that Rickie Lambert's career went after he went to Liverpool. That didn't go the way that he'd hoped it would and I'm sure he probably has second thoughts now."

There is little chance of Ings leaving before the transfer window shuts on February 1, when it will also be Cancer Deadline Day.

"Cancer Deadline Day is an initiative where eight cancer charities have come together – with Prostate Cancer being one of those – to try and raise some valuable funds," Le Tissier said.

"With what's going on at the moment, a lot of charities have taken a big hit and hopefully this initiative can try and fill a gap in the funding.

"Trying to get football fans, football clubs involved to just raise some funds to be able to help people that are struggling in these really strange times."

:: Matt Le Tissier has joined Prostate Cancer UK and seven other cancer charities in signing up for Cancer Deadline Day. Make a transfer for cancer at www.cancerdeadlineday.org

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Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl pictured on January 4, 2021
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