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Yoshida celebrates his birthday with new Southampton deal

Japan international Maya Yoshida celebrated his 29th birthday by agreeing a new three-year contract at Southampton.

MayaYoshida - Cropped
Southampton defender Maya Yoshida

Southampton have announced that Maya Yoshida has signed a fresh three-year deal, which will keep him at St Mary's Stadium until 2020.

The Japan international defender, who put pen to paper on the new contract to celebrate his 29th birthday on Thursday, has made 138 appearances for the Saints since his arrival from Dutch side VVV in 2012.

Yoshida has played the full 90 minutes in Southampton's first two Premier League games of 2017-18 and could be set for a crucial role this season as Virgil van Dijk remains absent from the first-team picture.

Van Dijk, heavily linked with Liverpool earlier in the transfer window, is looking to force through a move away from the club, but no such thoughts have crossed the mind of Yoshida.

"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," he told the club's official website.

"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."

Vice-chairman of football Les Reed added: "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 Virgil 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."

Mauricio Pellegrino's men followed up their opening-game draw against Swansea City with a 3-2 win over West Ham, before exiting the EFL Cup at the hands of second-tier Wolves on Wednesday, with all three fixtures on home soil.

The Saints travel to newly promoted Huddersfield Town this weekend. 

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