Southampton are set for a January battle with South Coast rivals Bournemouth over the signing of Brentford central defender Chris Mepham, according to the Sun.
The Cherries have reportedly seen a £10m bid rejected but are ready to go back with £15m, while the Saints want both the Welsh international and his team-mate Ollie Watkins.
Defensive sloppiness has characterised much of Southampton’s season but Ralph Hasenhuttl is determined to strengthen his side’s rearguard as they embark on a relegation battle.
The Austrian has already made it clear that one of the defenders he has on his books – Wesley Hoedt – is free to leave St Mary’s this month and Mepham’s arrival would likely be the final straw.
An expensive purchase like Mepham would likely need both money and a position freed up to become a reality and letting Hoedt leave would solve both issues in one go.
The Welshman is a hugely promising prospect and is already well attuned with the demands of playing the kind of high-tempo, attractive football Hasenhuttl demands – because it is the norm at Brentford.
Hoedt has simply failed to settle at St Mary’s or offer the solid leadership and organisation Southampton have desperately needed throughout his time with the club.