Saints remain hopeful that Ronald Koeman will sign a new contract at the club, despite a fresh bout of speculation linking him with the vacant post at Everton.

Despite Koeman having played down the initial reports just before the final game of last season, and insisting publically that he intends at the very least to honour the remaining year of his Saints contract, widespread rumours have flared up again.

However, the Daily Echo understands that Saints at this stage remain relaxed about the reports, which come at a time when they are negotiating a potential contract extension with Koeman.

Saints would have to give Koeman permission to speak with Everton and no formal approach has yet been made.

Reports coming out of Everton concur that Koeman has not spoken with the Toffees, but that they remain keen on him despite his initial frosty reaction to the possibility of replacing Roberto Martinez.

Everton have a new billionaire backer in the shape of Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri, and while Koeman is generally not motivated by the size of his personal salary, with Saints offering him a bumper new deal anyway, his biggest question is over ambition.

Koeman remains hugely ambitious, and Saints is never likely to be the last stop on his managerial career ladder.

While Everton would seem a strange move for a man who harbours ambitions of managing Barcelona and the Netherlands before he retires, Moshiri’s considerable resources are the only thing which could turn his head.

Sources close to Everton are adamant that he will give his new manager a war chest of more than £100m to spend this summer, as well as the assurance there is plenty more spending like that to come in future transfer windows.

Koeman has only just returned from his end of season holiday to the millionaire’s paradise of St Barth’s in the Caribbean.

Before he jetted off for his down time he met executive director Les Reed, who outlined Saints’ own plans for the future, and their ambitions to break into the Champions League.

There is no likelihood of Koeman being given £100m to spend at St Mary’s, so the question for him remains whether he believes it is really achievable at Saints, or whether he has taken them about as far as he can.

There is optimism around the club, however, that Reed’s persuasive powers and personal ambitions for the club convinced Koeman as his new agent, Rob Jansen, has started contract talks with Saints, which indicate the Dutch manager is contemplating extending his stay.

While there have been jitters amongst sections of the fans that the deal has not yet been signed, there are many issues to be agreed, not least salary, bonuses and contract length as Koeman is not likely to want a long deal unless there is a very clear break clause within it, something he may demand anyway.