Chelsea have been dealt a fatal blow in their alleged pursuit of Matt Targett after confirmation the highly-rated defender has signed a new five-year contract with boyhood club Southampton.
The south coast club's official website confirmed this morning that the England U19 international has committed his future to St Mary's until 2019 after making his first-team breakthrough under new manager Ronald Koeman this season.
Speaking to Saints' official YouTube channel, the talented left-back expressed his delight after being rewarded for his impressive progress with a long-term deal after rising through the academy ranks since the age of eight to finally feature at senior level.
"I'm delighted to finally put pen to paper," Targett enthused. "Coming up through the Academy and signing a new five-year deal to take me up until I'm 24 is only a positive.
"Being a Southampton supporter, it means a lot more to be staying at the club because it's where I want to spend my career. I want to get into the first team and to keep progressing by playing week-in week-out.
"Ryan Bertrand is doing a great job this season and has made that left-back spot his own, so I just need to keep working hard in training to keep pushing him."
Bertrand joined Southampton on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea after finding regular football difficult to come by in west London ever since Jose Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge.
Saints have an option to make the 25-year-old's transfer permanent, but will be conscious of stalling Targett's development, especially having been tipped as the long-term successor to Luke Shaw, who left the club to pen a lucrative £120,000-a-week deal with Manchester United during the summer.
The talented teenager has been used sparingly so far this season, with his appearances limited primarily to the Capital One Cup, although he made his Premier League debut as a late substitute in the 2-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers back in September.
It wouldn't be surprising if Bertrand actually warned Targett against moving to Chelsea, particularly after his own struggles trying to cement a place in the team in recent years. The full-back has made just 28 appearances for the Blues at senior level and has taken in loan spells at seven different clubs in order to prevent his personal development being hampered by a lack of competitive action.
Saints boss Koeman also reflected positively on the confirmation of Targett's new deal, suggesting it sends out a positive message to the rest of the players and supporters for the future.
"He is still only 19 so he has to develop, but he is getting the chance to do that" - Ronald Koeman
"We are happy that he has signed his new contract because he is a young, talented player," explained the Dutchman. "He has developed in a very good way.
"He has been playing the League Cup games, which has been a very good experience for him. Young players need a chance to play – he has had that and taken advantage of that.
"He is still only 19 so he has to develop, but he is getting the chance to do that which is a good signal to other young players in the club."
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