CHERRIES have rejected a bid of £5million from Southampton for Max Aarons, the Daily Echo understands.

Aarons joined Cherries last summer from Norwich City for around £7m and made 23 appearances.

Having started the season in the team, the right-back’s progress was hampered by two hamstring injuries during the course of the campaign.

That, combined with fine form shown by Adam Smith, restricted Aarons’s game-time, making just 13 Premier League starts.

Aarons was wanted by both Southampton and Leeds United last summer, very nearly joining the latter, only for Cherries to swoop and offer him Premier League football.

It remains to be seen whether Saints return with an improved bid for the 24-year-old, with the first bid not being in the region of what Cherries would consider if they were to sanction a sale.

Saints, who this week handed a new contract to boss Russell Martin following promotion, are likely to be on the lookout for a new right-back, with Kyle Walker-Peters heavily linked with an exit.

Aarons replaced Martin in the Norwich team, after the latter’s departure in 2018.

Speculation has surrounded Aarons for much of the summer, with Italian outfit Roma also linked.

Aarons is due to link up with the rest of his teammates for pre-season training later this week.

Following the summer departure of Ryan Fredericks, should Aarons leave, it would mean veteran Smith is the only remaining right-back at the club.

Reflecting on his first season at Cherries, in an interview with the Daily Echo in May, Aarons said: "The start to the season I had was brilliant.

“Obviously the injury I had just put a bit of a wedge in that good form and minutes that I was having.

“Then coming back from the injury, it’s always tough when you’ve had weeks out, the team are picking up momentum and the boys have been doing really well.

“So it’s just about with the boys doing well, it was giving me more time to make sure my body was in a really good place for coming back in.

“Then obviously (against Chelsea on the final day), getting that start, I was cramping up towards the end.

“We had to look after a few of our players then that hadn’t played many minutes.

“I’m looking forward to a really good pre-season now.”

Earlier in his career, former England under-21 international Aarons was linked with a move to Barcelona and made more than 200 appearances for Norwich, having started out in the youth ranks of Luton Town.