In Focus: Will City tempt Ings to march away from the Saints?
Danny Ings is back fit and firing for Southampton — but it remains to be seen how long the striker will be strutting his stuff at St Mary’s.
The England international made a goalscoring return from injury as the Saints beat Burnley 3-2 earlier this month and boss Ralph Hasenhuttl will be hoping for more of the same from his No9 next season.
But with reports linking Ings with a move to Manchester City, can Southampton keep hold of their prized asset?
Ahead of their clash with lowly West Brom tonight, we assess what the future may hold for the hitman.
What's the state of play?
Ings’ current deal expires in the summer of 2022 and there is reportedly the offer of an extension on the table.
That would make the former Liverpool forward Southampton’s best-paid player but Ings has yet to commit his future to the club.
That leaves the Saints in a difficult position. To avoid losing Ings on a free transfer in a year’s time, they could be forced to sell at the end of the season if he doesn’t sign a new contract.
Why the delay?
At 28, Ings is approaching the last chance saloon when it comes to signing for an elite club.
With injury ruining his three-year stint at Liverpool, there is a sense he has unfinished business at a club challenging for silverware.
Ings is reportedly happy to extend his stay at Southampton for the foreseeable future if a move fails to materialise this summer.
But it would be a surprise if rumours linking him with a move to the Etihad Stadium have not piqued his interest.
Is he good enough for City?
Despite a patchy injury record, the Winchester-born forward has posted some remarkable numbers since arriving on the South Coast in 2018.
He has scored 38 goals in 85 Premier League games for Southampton and has averaged 0.46 strikes per 90 minutes this season, placing him just outside the league’s top 20 scorers.
Ings’ lethal finishing has seen him exceed his 0.35 expected goals per 90 in 2020-21, while a healthy record of 1.16 shots on target per game reflects the poacher’s instinct that he would bring to Pep Guardiola’s side.
Staying in Southampton?
Southampton supporters will have been buoyed by Hasenhuttl’s bullish comments ahead of the clash with Burnley just opver a week ago.
He said: "You can be sure we are negotiating with the agent and with him. As I said, I am very positive he is also the future part of Southampton."
"He has one more year on his contract. This will be an interesting situation for him, if a big club wants him.
"It is always difficult for us to keep a player like that but I do not see this scenario in the summer, if I am honest.
"Is he good enough to be an option for them? I don't know but I expect him to stay with us as he knows what he has with us."
Manchester City are in the market for a first-class centre forward this summer but sky-high prices may prohibit them from signing Harry Kane or Erling Haaland.
If that proves to be the case, Ings would represent a budget-friendly option with top-flight experience and plenty of goalscoring nous.
But an extended stay with the Saints remains a distinct possibility — the only question is how long Southampton can wait for their star man to put pen to paper?