RALPH Hasenhuttl made it clear that Saints DO have the option to sign Kyle Walker-Peters on a permanent basis – even though it’s not written down on paper.

Walker-Peters joined the club on a six-month loan deal from Tottenham until the end of the season earlier this week.

Hasenhuttl previously said he’d only take players on a temporary basis if the club had the option to sign them permanently.

Asked by the Daily Echo why he changed his stance on that, the manager said: “There is always an option.

“If he feels comfortable here and plays well and we feel comfortable with him and he likes to play with us, there is always an option to get him in the summer.

“Even if it’s not written down, there’s always an option. I always say, small flowers, you have to look after them and give them water and then they sometimes turn into beautiful flowers.

“This is something we try with all the young players and give them the chance to develop.

“If they follow us and invest a lot, the chance is big.”

Walker-Peters joining Saints has led to the imminent departure of Cedric.

The Portuguese international is close to joining Arsenal on loan until the end of the season.

It’s a deal that will see Saints pocket a £3.5m loan fee, with the Gunners also paying Cedric’s wages.

This takes the total cost to £5m for a player whose contract will run out at the end of the season and wasn’t going to be remaining on the south coast.

Now that the 28-year-old is on his way out, Hasenhuttl is confident that Walker-Peters will be able to handle the pressure but did admit there would be an inevitable drop in experience.

He added: “Yes, but this is our way, our philosophy.

“We went this way now for more than a year and we see young players developing very well.

“We have a few bright diamonds in our youth and we will have a lot of fun with them in the future.

“Kyle Walker-Peters can be one of them.”