Shrimpers defender turns down Championship offer
Southend United have confirmed that defender Simon Francis has rejected the chance to join an unnamed Championship club.
The Shrimpers rejected the club's initial offer in December only to accept their new and substantially improved bid earlier this week.
However, following Francis' talks with the unnamed Championship club the 24-year-old turned down their contract offer.
Southend have expressed their delight that the defender, who has started all but one of their league games this season, is staying for now
"Southend wishes to confirm that it received a bid from a Championship side for Simon Francis on Wednesday," read a statement on the club's official website.
"Before Christmas the same side enquired as to whether the club was prepared to sell Simon Francis and made an initial offer. This was declined as we did not wish to sell Simon.
"On Tuesday the club in question improved their offer substantially and it was accepted.
"It is always difficult when a club from a higher division comes in for a player because we would not wish to stand in the way of a player's progression. Every player wishes to compete at the highest level.
"The manager, and the chairman agrees, feel that in the spirit of openness all players should be told of any interest.
"Simon was reluctantly given permission to talk to the interested side on Thursday but they have been unable to agree personal terms.
"Obviously it goes without saying that we are delighted to be keeping Simon Francis and we hope he will continue to be a mainstay in the squad."