Southampton have opened informal talks with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl over extending his stay at the club, having been impressed with his impact on the south coast.
It hasn't always been rosey for Hasenhuttl since his appointment in December 2018. It even looked as if his race had been run in October when the Saints lost 9-0 to Leicester at St Mary's, languishing in the relegation zone.
There has been an almighty rally behind the Austrian since, however. Inspired largely by the irrepressible Danny Ings, Southampton have taken 26 points from 51 available to rocket up the division, and now sit ten clear of danger.
They're closer to the European spots than the relegation zone and things are really beginning to click for the former RB Leipzig boss, who could be rewarded for his efforts with a shiny new contract in the foreseeable.
He's currently contracted through to the end of next season, and Sun reporter Tom Barclay has reported that he will be handed a new three-year deal if the club do avoid relegation – which looks like a formality at this stage.
Understand Southampton have begun to chat to Ralph Hasenhuttl about a new 3-yr deal. Formal talks won't begin til survival is ensured - but I'm led to believe RH is keen to commit as he's bought in massively to the project at #saintsfc— Tom Barclay (@TomBarclay_) February 24, 2020
He notes that informal talks have already begun, suggesting the club don't harbour any realistic fears of the drop but are keen to let the remainder of the season play out before planning for the long-term future.
As much as the Saints are keen to keep hold of their charismatic manager, it seems he is equally keen to stay. Unless there is an unexpected barrage of interest in his signature - or an astonishing drop-off in form between now and May - it's difficult to imagine any reluctance to sign.
RALPH CAM— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) February 23, 2020
Start your Sunday morning by enjoying Stuart Armstrong's goal with Ralph Hasenhüttl's reaction! pic.twitter.com/r872s9YWGy
The club have shown patience with the 52-year-old where others in the division wouldn't have, and are seeing rewards for that on the pitch. Their most recent victory over Aston Villa leaves them sitting comfortably in 12th place, with a favourable run of fixtures (West Ham [A] 29/2, Newcastle [H] 7/3, Norwich [A] 14/3) to come.
Source : 90min