SAINTS have confirmed Ryan Bertrand is set to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl last week said the England international had not accepted an offer of a new deal at St Mary’s.

And the club have announced his imminent departure.

Reports have linked the 31-year-old with the likes of AC Milan, Monaco, Arsenal and Manchester City.

And having confirmed he will exit St Mary’s, the left-back is set to become a highly sought-after free agent this summer.

A statement from Saints said: “Southampton Football Club can confirm that Ryan Bertrand will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

“Whilst that time will always be fondly remembered, the club and Ryan have agreed that now is the time to respectfully part ways and move forward on different paths.

“Everyone associated with Southampton would like to thank Ryan for his contribution to the history of the club, and for all the memories he has helped create for our fans.

“He will forever be welcome at St Mary’s and Staplewood and will always be a Saint.”

Bertrand initially joined Saints on loan from Chelsea in 2014 and, having made the move permanent, has gone on to make 240 appearances for the club in all competitions.

He has missed Saints’ past three games with a calf problem.

Speaking to the Daily Echo back in October about potentially signing a new deal, Bertrand said: “Definitely, I want to stay. That’s my thought process.

“I see myself staying here and it would be great to be part of this club for the long haul.

“I’ve been here so long. I have still got plenty of years left in me. And to go beyond that and possibly work for the club even after football.

“I’m fully focussed on hopefully extending my contract here.

“It’s in the club’s hands, to be honest.”

But having not extended his deal, Bertrand is set to take on a new challenge away from St Mary’s next season.