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Friday, March 1, 2013
O'Neill keen to extend Mignolet contract

Kristan Heneage

Martin O'Neill has confirmed his intention to offer goalkeeper Simon Mignolet a new contract at the club as the goalkeeper continues to be linked with a move away from Wearside.

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Mignolet, 24, joined from Sint-Truiden in 2010 for a fee of 2 million, and is set to make his 100th appearance for the club on Saturday against Fulham.

Currently a Belgium international - quotes attributed to the player's agent earlier in the week had suggested he would be looking to leave the North East in order to enhance his international prospects and both Arsenal and Manchester United were credited with an interest. Those claims were promptly denied by both the player and his agent Guy Vandersmissen, who reiterated how happy he was with his current club.

Having been in fine form for the club this season, O'Neill is now keen to sit down with Mignolet and secure his long-term future.

Asked whether contract talks were on the agenda, O'Neill told the Shields Gazette: "Absolutely  very much so. Simon still has two more years left to run on his current contract, but we would like to do something and that is something I want to push forward.

"If anyone deserves a new deal this season it is Simon, without a doubt. He has been fantastic for us. He's a really genuine lad.

"He asked to see me this week to talk to me about the stories in the media, and at that stage I hadn't seen them. But he felt things were being twisted a little bit and he wanted to let me know that. I can't prevent other teams being interested in him, if that's the case.

"But I think that, for him, it is really important that he is playing regularly and things might change. You never know, we might become as good as Atletico Madrid in the next few years!"

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