Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand has hinted that he may return to the club in a coaching role in the future after his exit in the summer was confirmed earlier today.
An official statement from Saints via southamptonfc.com explained that a mutual agreement had been reached and that Bertrand would move on. Hampshire Live also reported yesterday that a recent contract offer was turned down by the player.
Bertrand then released his own statement in which he thanked the fans and staff at the club, but also made a hint towards a potential return to St Mary’s in the future.
As seen in his tweet below, he finishes by saying “I look forward to returning to the club one day, either behind the scenes, or as a fan.”
Time for Southampton to look to the future
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The fact that Saints made a contract offer to Bertrand is a sign that they wanted him to stay around and pass on his experience to what is a young first-team squad.
From his word about a future return, it seems as though a coaching role may be on offer to him when he retires if he sees his as his post-playing pathway.
In all, he made 240 appearances in seven years on the South Coast and can be seen as a real bargain given that he held his role in the team for such a long time after his £12m arrival from Chelsea.
Before his recent injury, he had remained a regular in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team – mainly because he is the only current recognised left-back at the club, but also because he can still provide a lot at the top level. It remains to be seen whether he will recover from injury in time to play one last time for the club.
Many teams have been reported as showing an interest in taking the 31-year-old on a free transfer, with Arsenal perhaps the most heavily linked so far. What Saints now need to do is find a replacement as well as another option at left-back.
Manchester United’s Brandon Williams will continue to be linked with a move to the club, whilst Brentford’s Rico Henry is said to be another option.