READING FC's Chris Gunter has shunned interest from rival clubs by putting pen to paper on a new three-year contract.

The Welsh international, whose deal was due to expire in 2018, was a transfer target for Garry Monk's recently relegated Middlesbrough and Premier League side Swansea City.

Monk activated the 27-year-old's £1m release clause but Gunter decided to commit his future to the Royals.

"Chris has been a very important player for this club and was again last season," said manager Jaap Stam.

"He started every single league game throughout the course of a long campaign. He has a lot of experience, both with his club and his country, he has great ability, mentally he’s strong and, importantly, you can always count on him.

"So I’m really pleased that the club have given him this new deal.”

The Royals' vice-captain joined from Nottingham Forest for a fee thought to be around £2.5m in 2012.

He has gone on to make 215 appearances for the club, scoring three times.

Gunter, who has 79 international caps to his name, captained the Royals in the heart-breaking play-off final defeat to Huddersfield at the end of last season.

Speaking after the defeat at Wembley, Gunter insisted it was vital the Royals kept hold of manager Stam for the upcoming season.

And after the Dutchman penned a new contract yesterday (Tuesday), it is understood Gunter snubbed a salary increase at Riverside to remain in Berkshire.

Royals' boss Stam is on the hunt for competition for Gunter's spot however and has been linked with Barnsley's Andy Yiadom and Derby's Cyrus Christie.

Chief executive Nigel Howe added: "Chris is a phenomenon when it comes to his endurance levels and the minutes he has managed to play at such a high level of professional football with both club and country.

"An exemplary ambassador for the club - both on and off the pitch - Chris has proven a valuable cog in our first team make up for more than five years now and I am pleased he has committed to three more years at the Madejski.”