Brighton & Hove Albion defender Lewis Dunk has committed his long-term future to the club, by signing a new five-year contract that will run until June 2020.
The 23-year-old, who graduated through the club’s youth and under-21 teams, agreed the new extended terms on Monday.
Dunk said, “I am absolutely delighted to commit my long-term future to the club. I know there has been a lot of speculation, but I have been with this club for a long time and genuinely had little desire to go anywhere else.
“The manager and club made it clear that they see me as an important part of the club’s future, and seeing that desire to keep me here at the club made it an easy decision in the end.
“The constant speculation in the media was something new and something I am not really used to, but I am pleased to put it behind me and be able to concentrate on my football again.
“My focus now is to help the club continue the excellent start we have made to the new season, and ultimately to help Brighton & Hove Albion achieve the club’s aim of playing football in the Premier League.”
Dunk had previously been linked with a move away from the Amex stadium with Premier League clubs such as Newcastle, Everton and West Ham reportedly showing interest in the versatile centre back and Albion manager Chris Hughton was pleased to fend off the interest.
“We made it clear to Lewis that both the club and I saw him as a key player for us and a big part of this club’s future,” said Hughton. “For me, as manager, what is really encouraging was the desire shown by the club to extend his contract – given the level of interest from elsewhere.
“We have made it consistently clear throughout this transfer window that we wanted to keep hold of our best players, and I know that isn’t always easy when clubs with much bigger resources than ours express an interest in our players.
“That is our aim, to enhance and build on what we have here, and with that in mind, I would like to thank the club, and in particular the chairman Tony Bloom, for ensuring Lewis’s long-term future with us.
“Lewis has been fantastic for me from the first moment I came into the football club, and with the additions in that area, it means we are now very strong in the defensive part of the squad and team.”