SAINTS manager Russell Martin and captain Jack Stephens started chants begging loanee Flynn Downes to stay next season.

Downes, 25, has been a key player for Southampton this season as they achieved promotion back to the Premier League.

A 1-0 win over Leeds United in the Championship playoff final on Sunday secured their immediate return to the top flight.

Martin and Stephens directed “sign him up” chants at Downes alongside 5,000 fans at Southampton’s promotion party at St Mary’s.

When speaking on stage, Downes, a boyhood West Ham fan, played down the chants.

The Daily Echo understands that Saints will make an attempt to keep the West Ham man on a permanent basis.

Downes has previously expressed that he has “loved” his time at the club.

Saints have already sealed the signing of Taylor Harwood-Bellis after his £20million obligation to buy clause was activated.