Motherwell manager Graham Alexander says contract talks are underway with several Fir Park stars – and Stephen O’Donnell’s deal is a sign of ambition.
The Scotland international confirmed last weekend that he was close to signing a contract extension at Fir Park for ‘a couple of years.’ Alexander has confirmed those talks are progressing and his signature on the dotted line could persuade more players to commit their futures to Motherwell.
Alexander explained: “I think that all good players want to play with other good players. I don’t think they want to be the only one in the group standing out but not winning games. For me, the strength of the squad and the team is the most important thing.
“Without it attracting any other interest, Stephen O’Donnell on his own is an excellent player who I want to keep. I would hope that people will see the ambition that we have, and he has, to see good times ahead at Motherwell.
“That will hopefully stand us in good stand when we speak to other players whether they are outside the club or are currently at the club and we’d like to keep them. There’s statements of intent that you can make throughout the course of the season and when, and if, we sign Stephen then I’ll think that’s certainly one.
“Stephen O’Donnell is a proven international. I think he’s the best Scottish right-back and if we can get over that line with him, which I think we are close to doing, then it’s a great addition going forward for us.
“It also shows the ambition that we’ve got that a current Scotland international is willing to commit themselves to staying at our club. That’s testament to the work that everyone at the club does.”
Alexander has several key players out of contract in the summer, including captain Declan Gallagher and midfielder Allan Campbell, but he is pleased with how talks have progressed with players coming to the end of deals. Bevis Mugabi and Robbie Crawford both signed extensions until the end of next season last week.
Motherwell’s manager said: “That was a challenge when I came in early January. We had to try keep players from leaving that we didn’t want to leave and we managed to do that. The results, in general, have borne fruits from keeping those quality players here.
“We’ve just tried to assess who can help us improve next year and who has done a good job for us. Not from previous to my time because I think that’d be hard to judge because different managers have different styles, different scenarios and different formations. We’ve just tried to give everyone a clean slate from the moment that we walked in through the door.
“There’s other players there that we’d like to keep moving forward but it’s hard to negotiate with seven or eight players at the same time. We’ve probably done it in different sections but we’ve signed Bevis and Robbie who I feel have done really well for me since I came in.”
Motherwell are looking to secure their place in the Scottish Premiership in the final five league games, starting with a home match against St Mirren on Saturday. With a Scottish Cup path to the semi-final outlined too, Alexander has stated what he wants from his squad.
He said: “I want to see people’s motivation, their personality, their character. There is so much motivation for every individual. Whether that is trying to stay in the team or earn a new contract, trying to get a better move, trying to stay in and get in the Scotland squad, everyone has motivation.
“It’s got to be channeled in the right way to get points for Motherwell. I want to see people’s commitment to our club in the final games and I know that when we get that we win games. So it starts with that.”
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