Pundit Danny Murphy has questioned the entourage of Southampton star striker Danny Ings, claiming he has been ‘tapped up’ by those around him.

According to The Athletic, Ings has rejected the offer of a new four-year deal that would see the ex-Liverpool hitman become the Saints’ highest-paid player in the club’s history.

With just one year left on his contract, Southampton have also decided an answer to a long-running conundrum as to what should be done if Ings chooses to run down his deal.

The update indicates the Saints are prepared to lose Ings for free and would rather retain his services for another season than risk losing out on his goal threat.

Ings, who is a reported Tottenham and Everton target according to the Sunday Mirror, will likely have placed suitors on red alert following the contract revelation.

That has prompted Murphy to believe his head has been turned with a mystery adviser or contact whispering in his ear.

“With the injuries that he has had, I find it strange that with a year left he’s not signing that contract,” said Murphy on talkSPORT [7/7/2021].

“I think there can only be two reasons. One, that it’s not quite right, which needs a new few bits. But that doesn’t sound right because if it’s the best offer they have put forward to any player in their history then it’s going to be pretty good dough.

“It sounds like he has been tapped up. I cannot see any other scenario other than he’s been tapped up. Why else wouldn’t he sign?

“He has had the injury problems you have had. You are 28-years-old. He’s earnt okay. This is the contract that is going to make him. He’s been tapped. I cannot see any other way.”

Read Southampton Verdict

Missing out on the chance to cash in on a proven and prolific asset is a bold call from Saints chiefs.

Bolder still, however, is the implicit belief that he is worth more staying on for his final year at the club and is sure to be welcomed from a sporting standpoint by Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Should Ings be kept on for next season?