PIERRE-EMILE Hojbjerg has been encouraged to sign a new contract at Saints by Ralph Hasenhuttl.

The club’s captain has just entered the final two years of his current deal which is often seen as a key time to enter negotiations over an extension.

Hasenhuttl said: “We are always in contact with his agent and Pierre knows about his important role for this club.

“He is the captain of the team and is always the player I have many conversations with. His opinion is important to me also.

“He showed in the last month that he is a real captain and always positive and trying to go forward. This is what we need.

Winger Nathan Redmond has recently put pen to paper over a four-year contract and Hasenhuttl is hoping Hojbjerg will follow suit.

The Denmark international has developed into one of Saints' most important players since he joined from Bayern Munich back in 2016.

He sparked concern when he was questioned about his long-term future when he was questioned at a recent fans' forum event that was hosted by BBC Solent.

Hojbjerg responded by claiming he was fully committed to the Saints cause and didn't want to focus on signing a new deal straight away.

Redmond ended the season as the club's player of the year after finishing as top scorer and playing a huge role of maintaining their Premier League status, which is why Hasenhuttl is hopeful that it won't take long for the skipper to commit to a new deal.

"Like Nathan, it is a good signal if Pierre decides to stay with us longer.

“We would be happy that is for sure and he is a very important player for our team."