Vegard Forren will return to pre-season training ready to challenge for a regular place in the Saints team.
Forren, below, is yet to play for the club, despite joining in a £3.5m deal from Norwegian side Molde last January.
Despite his lack of playing time, the 25-year-old’s representative, Jim Solbakken, said he “absolutely” intends to remain with the club and that he is “definitely” seen as part of Saints’ plans.
Solbakken revealed that, because Norway’s top division had finished its season in November last year, it was agreed at the time of Forren’s arrival that he was being signed with a view to next season, rather than the one just finished.
“When we took Vegard to Southampton it was obviously in the middle of the season (in England) and he came from holiday, so it was agreed he was going to build his fitness towards this summer’s pre-season and upcoming season,” said Solbakken.
“It is obviously a huge step for a player coming from Norway to the Premier League and it takes time. “He is patient, ready and committed to that. “We knew what was coming and we all agreed.”
Solbakken admitted that Forren had hoped he could be involved late in the season, but that he accepted the decision to hold him back, especially as Saints did not wrap up survival until the final week of the campaign.
“He is ready to work hard and try to get a regular spot at the club,” he said. “He is working hard during the summer as well to come back fit and strong.”
To earn a place in the side, Forren will have to dislodge at least two of Maya Yoshida, José Fonte and Jos Hooiveld, who have been ahead of him in the pecking order at centre half.
Saints are also understood to be considering bringing in another player in that position this summer, which would further increase the competition.
But the club will certainly hope to also see the best of Norwegian international Forren after a full pre-season.
The player has already received the endorsement of his fellow countryman and former Saints captain Claus Lundekvam, who said after his signing: “He’s the biggest centre half talent we have had in Norway for quite a while.
“He’s a very modern centre half. “He’s very good on the ball and he reads the game well. “He’s strong one-against-one, and he’s a bit like me in that he likes to play – he likes to start the attack and join in.”