John Souttar: Dundee United boss Paatelainen tips defender to stay

Dundee United defender John Souttar
Souttar is free to talk to other clubs about a possible summer move

Dundee United manager Mixu Paatelainen is optimistic John Souttar will sign a new contract despite the club's offer being withdrawn.

With his deal expiring in the summer, the 19-year-old defender is free to speak to other clubs.

"The contract was on the table for a long period, then nothing happened from the other side so it was taken off the table," explained Paatelainen.

"Talks are ongoing and the feeling from both parties is that John stays here."

Souttar, who made his debut in January 2013, has made 19 appearances this season, although he has been among the substitutes in the past three matches.

"Far too much has been said about the situation," Paatelainen added. "These situations happen all the time. It's not only John Souttar, it's not only Dundee United, it's every club.

"It's part of the negotiations and part of getting to that solution and signing that contract. Sometimes it's a straight road, sometimes there are a few bends. We will get there.

Dundee United manager Mixu Paatelainen
Paateleinen feels signing "two or three players would help" United

"Both the player and the club are willing to get that contract. John is a Dundee United boy and he wants to do everything for the club. He is determined to stay here and fight for the cause. It's a positive problem."

United, 11 points adrift at the bottom of the Premiership, have sold Andy Robertson, Ryan Gauld, Gary Mackay-Steven, Stuart Armstrong and Nadir Ciftci over the past 18 months.

And Paatelainen is not wasting time worrying about another potential sale this month.

He said: "I have no fears because it can happen so what's the point in fearing it? Any club can come in for any of our players and take them away for lots of money. Any player can go at any moment. But there's no problem.

"I trust we will come to a conclusion and John will stay here and develop here because I feel he is in good hands. He is a young player still and he plays every week. We want to keep him and John wants to stay here."

And, on the possibility of bringing players in, Paatelainen added: "We are looking at various options and talking to players and clubs. We're working very hard and hopefully we will be successful.

"I feel two or three players would help us. We have to make sure they are the right players, it's not just for the sake of bringing in players because it's not a bad squad by any means.

"We have very determined players, good, honest workers, but we feel a couple of additions will help us."