Southampton: £50k-a-week star could now leave St Mary's

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl

Southampton defender Jack Stephens could leave St Mary’s Stadium before the window closes, according to talkSPORT reporter Alex Crook.

Stephens has made more than 100 appearances since arriving from Plymouth 11 years ago, but his game-time has reduced in recent seasons which could lead to a summer exit.

What’s the latest news involving Stephens?

Stephens has featured from the bench in Saints’ opening two Premier League matches, but he’s made just 26 starts in the last two campaigns having fallen behind Jan Bednarek and Mohammed Salisu in the pecking order.

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GiveMeSport Transfer Verdict

With Southampton already bolstering their central options with the addition of Armel Bella-Kotchap, who played 90 minutes against Leeds last weekend, Stephens’ chances aren’t likely to improve.

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As a result, the 28-year-old, who has less than two years remaining on his £50,000 per-week contract, is currently in talks over a move to Watford, and while it’s unclear whether it would be a permanent or a loan, the south coast club are ‘open to negotiations’.

What did Crook say about Stephens?

Crook states that he’s spoken to someone at Southampton and was informed that Stephens could end up leaving, although it won’t necessarily be for Watford.

He told GIVEMESPORT: “Stephens is interesting because I saw that knocking around yesterday and I’ve seen it again this morning.

I did contact someone close to Southampton and they said he might go, they’re not entirely sure it’ll be to Watford, though, so keep an eye on that one.”

Can Southampton afford to lose Stephens?

The fact Stephens featured in Saints’ first two league fixtures, including 45 minutes at Tottenham, suggests that he’s a firm member of the squad.

Playing a back three, Stephens is one of just five centre backs Ralph Hasenhuttl currently has at his disposal, which means that he’ll surely have to be replaced if he gets moved on.

Bella-Kotchap, Jam Bednarek and Mohammed Salisu were the Austrian’s selected trio for the Leeds draw, with Yan Valery Southampton’s only other recognised senior centre back in the squad besides Stephens.

Therefore, should Stephens get his wish to leave and increase his game-time, Hasenhuttl might have to dip back into the market or risk leaving himself short at the back later this season if one of those four get injured.

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