Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino is hoping he can convince in-form winger Jason Puncheon to sign a new contract with the Saints, Sky Sports understands.
Puncheon, 26, has been loaned out three times — to the likes of Millwall (2010-11), Blackpool (2010-11) and Queens Park Rangers (2011-12) — since arriving at St Mary’s in January 2010, but has established himself as a first-team regular under Nigel Adkins and now Mauricio Pochettino this season.
The 26-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season, fueling speculation that the winger could be set to leave Southampton in the summer.
Newcastle United and West Ham United are among the club’s being linked with Puncheon, who publicly criticised Saints’ chairman Nicola Cortese upon his return to the club last January.
“I myself haven’t spoken anything about his contract,” Pochettino told reporters through an interpreter.
“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.”
Puncheon has bagged six goals and two assists in 25 starts in all competitions for the Saints in 2012-13, including league goals against powerhouses Chelsea and Manchester City.
Southampton are unbeaten, 5-1-0, in each of the six contests in which Puncheon has scored this season.
Cuevas set for Chelsea move
O’Higgins starlet Cristian Cuevas has revealed that he has agreed a deal to join English Premier League giants Chelsea in the summer, Sky Sports reports.
Cuevas, 17, enjoyed a successful trial at Stamford Bridge in 2012, in which he earned rave reviews.
The Chile Under-20 international is one of the hottest prospects in South American football, and will likely be selected to represent his country at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey this summer.
He is expected to join the Blues at the start of pre-season training.
The 17-year-old midfielder will have to compete with the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Victor Moses, Marko Marin, Oscar and Kevin De Bruyne for first-team football at Stamford Bridge.
“I’m very happy,” Cuevas told El Tipografo. “This week everything was finalised and I’ll join in the middle of the year.
“Chelsea were following me for more than a year. What I wanted happened, which was joining this club.
“The Under 20 World Cup will come in the middle of the year and I hope to be in the squad and play some minutes as I really want to. If I play the World Cup, I’ll then go to England. Otherwise I’ll go there in June.”