Why Southampton have struck gold with a new deal for Jan Bednarek
The 24-year-old had less than two years remaining on the five-year deal that he signed while joining the Saints from Lech Poznan back in the summer of 2017. Southampton, though, have moved quickly to secure the long-term future of the Polish defender, who has evolved into a key player at the club over the past couple of the seasons.
A youth exponent of Polish club Lech Poznan, Jan Bednarek made his Ekstraklasa debut as a 17-year-old back in the 2013-14 season. He furthered his development on loan at fellow top-flight outfit Gornik Leczna, making 18 appearances in 2015-16. On his return, the centre-back established himself as a regular fixture at the back for Lech Poznan.
Bednarek’s growing reputation in his homeland prompted Southampton to pay £5.4m for his services in 2017. He made only 8 appearances in all competitions in his debut season at St. Mary’s but established himself in a more prominent role in the following campaign, starting 24 times in the PL.
The 24-year-old evolved into one of the mainstays of the Saints’ backline last term, making 39 appearances in all competitions as the club finished 11th in the top-flight. Bednarek has continued to be a key cog for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side at the back this season as well, starting all 10 league games so far.
A full international for Poland since 2017, Bednarek has earned 27 caps for his nation, representing them at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Nations League.
Bednarek remains a key player for the Saints
Besides adding some talented youngsters like Moussa Djenepo, Che Adams, Mohammed Salisu and Ibrahima Diallo to their ranks in recent times, Southampton have also successfully tied down some of their key players to new long-term terms.
Midfield mainstays Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse have penned new contracts over the past few months while the Saints have also rewarded academy starlets Jake Vokins and Will Smallbone for their transition to the first-team ranks. A new contract for star striker Danny Ings has also been mooted, although the England international is yet to put pen to paper on fresh terms at St. Mary’s.
A new deal for Jan Bednarek at St. Mary’s represents a continuation of Southampton’s contract renewal drive to secure the futures of their first-team mainstays. The Poland international has progressed leaps and bounds to establish himself as one of the first names on Hasenhuttl’s teamsheet, contributing greatly to Southampton’s impressive start to the campaign.
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There’s no better way to recognise a player’s growth than by offering him a new contract. Jan Bednarek has certainly been amongst the most improved players at the club over the past couple of seasons, so Southampton’s decision to tie him down to fresh and improved terms represents a step in the right direction.
Bednarek’s importance to the club has certainly been heightened by the departure of experienced figures like Maya Yoshida and Wesley Hoedt at the back. With Ryan Bertrand also ageing and youngster Salisu yet to establish himself, Southampton will rely heavily on the likes of Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard to lead their backline for several seasons moving forward.