Daily Echo:

FORMER Saints goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski believes his Polish compatriot Jan Bednarek is a player you can "trust" ahead of his big move to St Mary's.

The Ipswich Town shot stopper, who made 42 appearances for Saints between 2006 and 2012, reckons the highly rated central defender will be a hit at Saints in the Premier League.

The 21-year-old is poised to make a 6m euro move from Lech Poznan, having flown in fresh from playing for Poland Under-21s at the European Championships to undergo a medical and agree terms of a contract at Saints.

The deal will make him the most expensive export from the Polish ranks in history.

The youngster arrives in England with a burgeoning reputation in his homeland, where he is known as one of the best talents in the country.

"For me Bednarek is second best defender in Polish league, behind Michal Pazdan [Legia Warsaw defender]," Bialkowski said.

"As a goalkeeper I’d like to play with player like him, because you can trust him and he's also good in the air."

Bednarek will become Saints' first summer signing and the first of Mauricio Pellegrino's reign at St Mary's.

And it is set to be the start of a busy period at the club.

Saints plan to continue from there, with new contracts for Jack Stephens and Sam Gallagher understood to be in the pipeline.

Stephens was exceptional at centre-back next to Maya Yoshida after Jose Fonte's January exit to West Ham and Virgil van Dijk's season-ending injury, making 23 appearances in all competitions in a breakthrough campaign.

The former Plymouth Argyle man currently has until 2019 to run on his current deal, but after his performances is in line to be rewarded with an extension until 2022 and a considerable pay rise to go with it.

Meanwhile, as reported in the Daily Echo this week, following a fruitful season in the Championship with Blackburn, during which he scored 12 goals, striker Gallagher, 21, is set to extend his stay St Mary's and fight for place in Pellegrino's side.

Fellow frontman Jay Rodriguez, however, is edging towards a Saints exit, with West Bromwich Albion close to completing a deal said to be worth £12m.