Jack Stephens could be set to earn a new Southampton contract, according to the Sun journalist Tom Barclay.
The central defender's current deal is nearing its end, with the £48,000-per-week agreement due to expire next summer.
What's the latest news involving Stephens?
Stephens has been on Southampton's books since 2011, when he joined the then-League One club from Plymouth Argyle in a deal worth £150,000.
The centre-half has gone on to make 139 appearances for Saints, with him also showing his capabilities at set pieces by scoring six goals and racking up as many assists.
Stephens featured heavily in boss Ralph Hasenhuttl's plans during the early stages of the campaign and started each of the south coast side's first six fixtures in all competitions, but he has been unable to feature since being forced off during the goalless draw with Manchester City last month.
Hasenhuttl later revealed that Stephens had to be substituted after sustaining a tendon problem in his knee, with him likely to be sidelined for up to 12 weeks.
What has Tom Barclay said about Stephens?
Although Stephens remains absent, Barclay feels there is work going on behind the scenes to ensure the 6 ft 1 defender remains at St Mary's beyond the end of the season.
The journalist admits Stephens' injury came at an unfortunate time as the 27-year-old had already nailed down a starting spot in Hasenhuttl's preferred line-up.
Having first switched to Saints a decade ago, Barclay believes the club will want to reward Stephens for his lengthy service by offering him an extended contract.
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He told GIVEMESPORT: "There's been a lot of talk about him having a new deal.
"Obviously, he's injured at the moment but he made a very good start to the season and he's been a real servant to Southampton."
Who else is nearing the end of their contract at St Mary's?
Stephens is not the only Southampton ace whose current deal expires at the end of the season.
Fellow shot-stopper Alex McCarthy's £50,000-per-week agreement also has less than 12 months to run.
However, the 31-year-old has confirmed he is happy at St Mary's and will discuss terms on a new deal when the time is right.News Now - Sport News