London, July 12 (IANS) English football club Southampton on Tuesday announced that defender Ryan Bertrand has signed a new five-year contract.
“Bertrand has been an integral part of the Saints team since joining from Chelsea in 2014, and is now committed to St Mary’s until 2021,” Southampton said.
“The deal represents another step in the club’s long-term plan for growth, with the best possible first-team squad to challenge on all fronts.”
Bertrand joins Virgil van Dijk, Fraser Forster, James Ward-Prowse and Steven Davis in agreeing on fresh deals at the club in recent months.
The 26-year-old left-back enjoyed another stellar season with Saints in 2015/16, making 34 appearances and helping the team to a club-record sixth-place finish in the Premier League and qualification for the group stages of the UEFA Europa League.
Executive Director of Football Les Reed said Bertrand’s deal is just as encouraging as the club’s recent new signings.
He said: “Signing new players is always exciting and we are delighted with our two summer signings so far, Nathan Redmond and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, who will bring special attributes and strength to our squad. I am equally excited by the commitment shown by our existing stars and those who signed long-term deals last year, thus strengthening the core of the squad.
“Ryan Bertrand has been an integral part of our success since joining in 2014 and has developed into a top Premier League and international player, but he also brings great leadership qualities to the club both on and off the pitch and is a real winner.
Bertrand said: “I’m very pleased. It’s been a fantastic move for me since the day I came to this club and I look forward to many more successful years and really pushing forward.”
On Monday, Danish midfielder Hojbjerg left Bayern Munich and joined Southampton with a contract for the next five seasons.
Hojbjerg, 20, who spent last season on loan at Schalke 04, cost the English side about 12.8 million pounds sterling ($16.8 million).
The arrival of 18-year-old Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches at the Allianz Arena pushed the young player to leave Bayern, the club with which he debuted in April 2013, when he was only 17 years old, becoming the youngest player to wear the Munich shirt.
Last month, Winger Redmond joined Southampton from league rival Norwich City.