Jason Puncheon’s Saints contract continues to run down, with the in-form winger now into the final few months of his deal.
Puncheon headlines a list of nine first-team players at St Mary’s due to become free agents in the summer.
The 26-year-old, who has been in tremendous form, has already he wants to stay next season.
But a contract extension is still to be sorted out. Saints are not yet under any major pressure to agree new terms, despite Puncheon being close to the end of his deal.
The player and his representatives are not allowed to speak to any other clubs within the same association, and can only therefore talk with those outside of England.
That is an unlikely scenario, especially as the winger has already made his intentions clear. Asked if he hoped to be back at Saints next season, Puncheon, pictured, recently replied: “I’m hoping to be, I’m happy here, and that’s the most important thing.”
Given his performances this term, it is almost inconceivable that the club would allow the player to leave for nothing, although they could wait until the summer to resolve the issue. Saints’ approach to the contracts of their key players means they have few major concerns on the horizon.
Most of their most influential stars are tied down to long-term deals, although Rickie Lambert and Morgan Schneiderlin are due to be up for renewal in 2014, as are Guly do Prado and Kelvin Davis.
As well as Puncheon, keeper Artur Boruc, who has started to cement the number one shirt, is also heading towards the end of his contract.
He only signed at St Mary’s until the end of the season when he joined in September.
However, should recent performances continue, an extension could well be warranted.
Fellow keeper Tommy Forecast, who has not played a single first-team match since joining in 2008, will undoubtedly be released.
The same fate is set to befall Ryan Dickson, currently on loan at Bradford City.
Ben Reeves, who has been farmed out to Southend, also sees his contract expire in the summer and the 21-year-old academy product may have to leave to pursue regular first-team football.
Saints also have a quartet of more senior players to consider, each of who have contributed to the club’s success over the past few seasons.
Centre-half Dan Seaborne, who is on loan at Cherries until the end of the campaign, is approaching the end of his deal, along with midfielder Richard Chaplow and full-backs Frazer Richardson and Danny Butterfield.
Between them, however, they only account for two Premier League starts and six substitute appearances this term.