Why Southampton should offer Jack Stephens a new deal
Stephens started 27 times in the Premier League last season en route to the Saints’ 11th-place finish and Southampton are planning to reward the 26-year-old’s impressive progress with a new deal.
Born in Torpoint, Jack Stephens rose through the youth ranks of Plymouth Argyle and made his professional debut for his boyhood club before earning a move to Southampton back in 2011.
The 26-year-old was handed his senior bow for the Saints in the following year but he had to go through loan spells at Swindon Town, Middlesbrough, and Coventry City before establishing himself in the first-team at St.Mary’s.
Stephens has since had a stop-start career at Southampton, finding himself in and out of the team under different managers. However, the 2019-20 season was arguably the most fruitful of his professional career so far. The central defender made 27 league starts – his highest involvement in a single Premier League season.
Why a new deal would be ideal
Stephens had struggled for consistency earlier in his career and was largely used as a squad player at Southampton. However, his rise to prominence as a regular starter under Hasenhuttl last season seems like a promise of better things to come.
The 26-year-old’s improvement over the past 12 months certainly can’t be ignored. It’s imperative to say that Stephens still has his best years ahead of him as a centre-back. With a senior figure like Maya Yoshida departing the club, the onus will be on the likes of Stephens, Jan Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard to hold things together for the Saints in the years to come.
The recruitment of Mohammed Salisu from Real Valladolid will ensure stiff competition for places at the back. But Stephens could continue to be a regular starter if he keeps his levels up.
- Why Southampton should avoid a move for Danny Welbeck
- Why Kamil Jozwiak could be a good signing for Southampton
Jack Stephens might not be amongst the most flamboyant players at St.Mary’s. But he brings a lot of value to the side with his quality and versatility, including the ability to play as a holding midfielder.
He already has a couple of years remaining on his existing deal but Southampton should extend his stay at the earliest after an impressive campaign.