The news that Port Vale fans have been waiting for has now been confirmed, with the club announcing that Jak Alnwick has committed to a new two-and-a-half-year contract.
It was speculated on Wednesday, through website HITC Sport, that the promising goalkeeper had agreed to extend his stay at Vale Park.
Vale had previously spoken of their desire to get the 22-year-old tied down, with talks opened swiftly in an effort to fend off potential interest from afar.
— Port Vale FC (@OfficialPVFC) October 15, 2015
Those discussions have reached a positive conclusion, and that is great news for all concerned.
Alnwick found himself at something of a career crossroads over the summer and was looking for someone to take a punt on his present ability and future potential.
Vale offered that olive branch, and have been handsomely rewarded.
There was, understandably, an air of caution to their summer approach, with an initial short-term agreement taking the youngster through to January.
He had experienced Premier League game time last season, as former employers Newcastle United endured an injury crisis between the sticks, but he was always going to be a stop-gap there.
The Magpies, though, may be wishing that they had worked harder to put an extension in place on Tyneside, given that they are currently without the services of regular number one Tim Krul and back-up shot-stopper Karl Darlow.
They were, however, prepared to overlook Alnwick, sending him out on a frustrating loan spell at Bradford City, before allowing his contract to expire and drop him into the free agent pool.
Their loss has been Vale’s gain, with his performances so far suggesting that he is a keeper capable of stepping back up the League ladder in the years to come – preferably with Vale.
He has certainly bought into the ambition of Rob Page, with his fresh terms set to take him through to the summer of 2018.
The deal represents a real coup for Vale, who remain handily placed within football betting markets to push on towards the top six and possible promotion to the Championship this season, with Alnwick having revealed to the club’s official website that interest in his services was shown from afar.
He is grateful to Page and Vale for giving him an opportunity to impress, though, and is eager to repay that faith over the coming months and years.
Alnwick said: “I’ve got a longer term contract but it kind of means nothing If you’re not doing well so I’ve got to keep doing well.
“I spoke to my agent and there were a few clubs sniffing around but I feel like I owe it to Port Vale and I’m desperate to stay here.
“They’ve been good to me so it’s time for me to show the faith in them and it’s a longer term contract which is nice which is going to make me work even harder.”
Alnwick has been an ever-present for the Valiants so far this season, helping to secure five clean sheets in all competitions – including the shut-out at West Bromwich Albion in a Capital One Cup clash which ultimately ended in penalty shoot-out disappointment.