St Mary’s club set to offer forward a new deal to end Newcastle United interest.
Southampton are to open contract talks with forward Jason Puncheon in a bid to beat off interest from Premier League rivals Newcastle United.
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Puncheon is out of contract in the summer and has yet to be offered new terms at St Mary’s, and that alerted Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew, who worked with the forward when in charge of Southampton.
They could renew acquaintances in the summer with a potential free transfer move to the north-east on the cards for 26-year-old Puncheon, who has been an integral part of Southampton’s first season back in the Premier League.
But Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino plans to open discussions with Puncheon, who has scored six goals this season and is the club’s second top scorer behind strike partner Rickie Lambert, and offer a new deal after admitting he is very much part of his long-term plans for the St Mary’s club.
“I myself haven’t spoken anything about his contract,” Pochettino told Sky Sports. “I’ve only recently arrived so my first priority has to be the whole of the team, not just one player. There are certain movements that were already happening with players when I arrived. In the coming weeks we will be speaking at a club level with the appropriate people to decide on the matters of players at the club.
“Puncheon is a player I am counting on and he is a player that has certain qualities and skills that are good for the team so, yes, I’d like him to stay.”
But Pardew is ready to test Puncheon’s desire to stay on the south coast by making a move for the forward, who can play out wide of behind a natural targetman and would be a squad player at Newcastle.
Pardew signed Puncheon from the MK Dons when in charge at Southampton, but is likely to face competition for his signature from West Ham who are also reported to have expressed an interest in signing him in the summer.
Pochettino added: “It will be down to the player to make that decision. I’ve said before that we will make decisions on the future.”