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Deal time near for host of players
Talk of a new deal for Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino might be dominating the agenda right now, but his is not the only contract the club will be looking at ahead of the summer.
As always, the future of a number of players are coming up for consideration once the season ends, with some likely to be departing St Mary’s for good.
Guly do Prado is the highest-profile member of the first-team whose contract is due to expire.
The Brazilian, who joined the club in 2010 from Italian side Cesena, has made just seven appearances, all as a substitute, in the Premier League this season.
As his Saints career has unfolded, the 32-year-old has become more and more a peripheral figure, and it looks increasingly likely that this will be a natural point for the two parties to go their separate ways.
Both players arrived at Saints in League One and will almost certainly be let go, with neither having featured in the Premier League since the club returned to the top-flight.
Barnard scored only his second goal in 25 league and cup matches on Monday night as Southend beat Oxford United 3-0 in League 2.
United States goalkeeper Cody Cropper, 21, is also due out of contract this summer, while decisions will need to be made on some of the younger players outside the first-team.
Of more interest perhaps is to look ahead to next year.
It is then that some of Saints’ more established stars will have deals up for renewal – something the club may wish to address this summer.
Most notably, the contracts of Jack Cork and José Fonte are both set to expire in 2015.
Cork’s future appeared to be in some doubt early in the season, after he lost his place in the team to summer signing Victor Wanyama.
But, after the £12.5m man suffered an injury in December, Cork took his chance, re-establishing himself alongside Morgan Schneiderlin in the defensive midfield area.
The 24-year-old’s performances since his return have been so impressive that he was even name-checked by the England manager, Roy Hodgson, recently.
Like Cork, Fonte’s form this season has also given him hope of an international future, although he has so far been overlooked by Portugal.
The 30-year-old has developed an impressive partnership with fellow centre half Dejan Lovren this term and has certainly put a strong case forward for a new deal.
Promising teens Sam Gallagher and Harrison Reed, who have both made their debuts this season, are also out of contract next summer.
With Pochettino quite fairly pointing out that Saints do not possess a huge squad of players, something he believes is hindering them as the season wears on, it is hard to see the club not wanting to keep hold of players such as those.
Goalkeeper Artur Boruc is another who only has one more year to run beyond this season, and the same is true for Japan international Maya Yoshida.
Another centre half, Jos Hooiveld, is due to be out of contract in 2015 as well.
Striker Billy Sharp will see his deal expire then, although there is a strong chance he will depart on a permanent deal this summer, having been loaned out to former club Doncaster back in January.
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