After a disappointing campaign last season, Mark Hughes has plenty of work to do at Southampton to improve their fortunes.
The Saints have often received widespread praise for their successes in the transfer market, signing players for cheap and then selling for a hefty profit, and more of that magic is needed on the south coast ahead of the 2018-19 season.
Hughes has shown a willingness to spend, splashing £56 million according to TransferMarkt, but have seen a number of their Premier League rivals also invest heavily – so the Saints will continue to be active for the final weeks of the window.
Here, we have identified five deals that could be concluded this week.
Matt Targett to Fulham
Newly-promoted Fulham reportedly made a £10 million bid for Matt Targett last month, according to Sky Sports, and the Cottagers remain in the hunt to land the services of the 22-year-old full-back on a permanent basis.
Targett spent the second-half of last term on-loan at Craven Cottage and played in the club’s playoff final victory at Wembley, though Southampton are determined to retain his services as they consider him to be a key-part of their future plans.
Sky Sports‘ most recent update confirms Fulham are still in pursuit of Targett but have not made a second approach after seeing their initial bid rebuffed.
Divock Origi – Liverpool
After scoring just 37 goals in 38 games last season, it is not at all surprising to see Southampton in the market for a new striker and AnfieldHQ’s Oliver Bond claimed on Twitter that Divock Origi is a target for the Saints – as well as Newcastle.
Origi has just a year left to run on his contract with Liverpool and appears to be surplus to requirements, having spent last season on-loan in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg; scoring six goals in 22 appearances with the club.
Still just 23, the Belgium international could be the next gem developed by Southampton and his record in the Premier League is far from terrible, scoring 12 goals in 51 matches.
Jordy Clasie to Feyenoord
After three years at Southampton, Jordy Clasie looks to be on the move once again, having spent last season on-loan with Club Brugge, and this time the Saints are looking to complete a sale on a permanent basis.
Sky Sports report that Clasie’s former employers Feyenoord are keen on bringing the Holland international back to the Eredivisie but their preference is a season-long loan, rather than paying a fee for the player they sold for £8 million.
“There’s been talk but we’ll have to wait and see. Sometimes they happen, sometimes they are not quite right on what we want and what’s on the table.”
Gonzalo Martinez – River Plate
Named by Calcio Mercato as one of a host of clubs interested in River Plate’s versatile midfielder Gonzalo Martinez, it is clear that Southampton will have a stern fight ahead of them if they are to land his services.
Crucially, the 25-year-old playmaker holds an Italian passport and would therefore not have any issues earning a work permit for a switch to the Premier League, where Everton and Tottenham are also attributed with an interest.
Martinez scored seven goals and supplied four assists in 25 appearances last season across all competitions and has spent his entire career in Argentina.
Mario Lemina to Manchester City
Southampton have plenty of experience in losing some of their prized assets to established big clubs in the Premier League and Mario Lemina could be the next player to follow that trend, as Manchester City are keen on a deal.
Sky Sports journalist Dharmesh Sheth, in comments made on the Transfer Talk podcast, transcribed by the Daily Express, claims that Lemina is seen as a more viable alternative to more expensive targets in the market and Chelsea’s capture of Jorginho ahead of the Citizens may impact the chase.
Signed from Juventus last summer, 24-year-old Lemina made 25 Premier League appearances for Southampton and scored his only goal for the Saints in a 3-2 win over fellow strugglers West Brom in February.