Southampton re-sign Maya Yoshida as Virgil van Dijk saga continues

Southampton defender Maya Yoshida has committed his future to the club by signing a new three-year contract, as the Virgil van Dijk transfer saga rumbles on.

The Japan international, who has made 138 appearances for Saints since joining from Dutch club VVV-Venlo in 2012, has agreed terms on a deal which runs until the summer of 2020.

Saints' football vice chairman Les Reed told southamptonfc.com: "We are extremely pleased to have reached a new agreement with Maya, who is a vital part of our squad, not only on the pitch, but off it.

"Maya is a player who has taken great strides in his game during his time with us and his influence was felt particularly last season as he formed outstanding partnerships with both Van Dijk and Jack Stephens, helping the team reach the EFL Cup final.

"Maya is an excellent example for any young professional to follow and it was important to ensure that we extended our commitment with him.

"We are excited about the depth we now possess at the centre-back position for the years ahead, with Maya's new deal strengthening our excellent group even further for the coming seasons.''

Yoshida has played every minute of Southampton's three games this season, including the Premier League clashes with Swansea and West Ham.

His new deal is the second bit of positive defensive news for the south-coast club this week following the arrival of Dutch centre-back Wesley Hoedt from Lazio.

Yoshida, 28, said: "There was no reason to leave the club. I have been here for five years. In that time I have had difficult moments, good moments - everything.

"I feel like it's my home and I'm very happy to continue my journey with Southampton. It's a new chapter for my career.''

Meanwhile, the club will continue to be without want-away defender Van Dijk as they aim to extend their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.

The future of Van Dijk, who handed in a transfer request earlier this month, which remains the hot topic.

Manager Mauricio Pellegrino confirmed Van Dijk would not be involved at Huddersfield on Saturday, although he had no comment to make on the Netherlands international reportedly speaking to Chelsea.

"I don't have this information, I don't want to give any opinion about that,'' Pellegrino said. "Virgil's situation [is that] nothing [has] changed, I have nothing to say.

"In the future it could be possible (that Van Dijk plays alongside Hoedt) but we will never know what will happen in the future.

"We'll expect the best from Wesley, from Virgil for us. I think all of them can help the team to be stronger and this is our goal right now.''

Pellegrino believes Hoedt, who could make his debut at the John Smith's Stadium, offers the Saints something new, while praising the attitude of Yoshida.

"Wesley is a young player, a young international, who can help us to be stronger in defence, and who is left-footed,'' Pellegrino added.

"He's a profile of player we don't have and can hopefully settle as quick as possible with the rest of the team to be available and we will decide [Friday] if we can include him in the squad.''

Speaking about Yoshida, Pellegrino added: "Maya has got the right mentality to grow with the team. He's a positive player, he's always open minded to learn and it's nice to keep with us a positive player.

"He's a really good professional and we want to keep our best players in the club. This is a good signing for us.''