Danny Ings reportedly chasing Champions League football

Ralph Hasenhuttl, Manager of Southampton speaks to Danny Ings of Southampton during the Premier League match between Burnley and Southampton at Turf Moor on September 26, 2020 in Burnley, England.

RALPH Hasenhuttl issued a message to striker Danny Ings amid reports he is stalling on signing a new contract at Saints in the hope he can play Champions League football, stating: "Score 10-15 goals more for us this season and then we have a chance to go there."

Saints have been hoping to tie down their star striker to a new deal, with his current contract set to expire in the summer of 2022.

Reports from the Telegraph and The Athletic this week claim Ings is reluctant to commit his long-term future to Saints just yet, in the hope a club competing at Europe's elite level might try to sign him.

Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with a move for the England international.

There is also a suggestion Ings is eyeing a potential release clause in any new deal he does agree to at Saints, which could keep his options open if a top club came calling.

Saints currently sit ninth in the Premier League table, five points off the top four.

Hasenhuttl has always maintained his desire for Ings to stay at the club, with the 28-year-old having netted 40 goals in 81 appearances since joining from Liverpool, initially on loan, in 2018.

Asked if he is confident of keeping the Winchester-born ace this summer, Hasenhuttl replied: "Yes."

Pushed further on reports of Ings wanting to play European football, Hasenhuttl added: "I think if he wants Champions League football he must score 10-15 goals more for us this season and then we have a chance to go there.

"It’s not impossible I think."

Speaking earlier in the week about negotiations with Ings, boss Hasenhuttl said: “I think Danny shows us that he wants to be with the club, we know that he is an important player for us. I hope that we find an agreement and finally he stays with us.

“If not, life will go on and this club will also exist and hopefully we can find a way that we can both live with.”

Ings did not feature in last night's 2-0 win over Shrewsbury in the third round of the FA Cup as he continues to get up to full fitness after recovering from coronavirus, but could return to take on Arsenal in the same competition on Saturday.

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