Southampton are preparing to announce that their manager, Ralph Hasenhüttl, has agreed a new contract to remain at St Mary’s until 2024.
Hasenhüttl, 52, signed an original contract until next year when he replaced Mark Hughes in December 2018 and, having averted relegation last year, has been rewarded for another generally impressive season up until the coronavirus pandemic forced matches to be suspended in March.
The season had included the huge low last year of a 9-0 home defeat against Leicester City but Southampton chief executive Martin Semmens made a point after that match of personally reassuring Hasenhüttl that he retained the club’s full support.
Results did then turn after the October international break and, despite a limited outlay in the transfer market over the past 18 months, Southampton are in no serious danger of relegation ahead of the Premier League’s restart on June 17.
Hasenhüttl and Southampton actually agreed the contract extension in February, and had been prepared to finalise the terms and make an announcement in March, just as the Covid-19 crisis forced a national lockdown.
With the Premier League’s planned resumption now only two weeks away, it has been decided to make the announcement.
Southampton have already been restructured this year with the arrival from the Football Association of new director of football operations Matt Crocker, who had previously worked at the club’s academy. Striker Shane Long, whose current deal expires this summer, is also set to sign an extension and stay beyond this season.
Southampton were the first Premier League club to agree a wage deferral among its players and first-team coaching staff, including Hasenhüttl, following the suspension of the season and this will continue until the end of this month.
“In difficult moments and situations, you can show how committed you are and I think it was a very good signal for everybody,” said Hasenhüttl. “I am very proud to be part of this club. I think we have been very committed and we will be even more committed in the future.
“We really care about this club and we really care about this city. We wanted to send this message to everybody. And as long as we are that family club we are always speaking about, we have to send a signal and I am very proud of that.”