Southampton have been locked in a battle with Liverpool over Cagliari’s Davide Astori but they have landed the first blow with a bigger initial offer for the Italian defender.
Liverpool threw down a bid of £7 million which was trumped by a first bid of £8 million from the Saints. However, the Daily Mail is reporting that the defender is valued at £12 million by his current club.
This has ensured a stalemate between the Saints and Cagliari with the Italian side holding all of the aces. Southampton may have no choice but to up their offer to guarantee the arrival of a defender who can improve their defensive stability.
Southampton conceded a massive 37 goals over the first half of the season which was more than any other club. Nigel Adkins has routinely expressed his desire to make the defence stronger and to make clean sheets more of a regularity.
Liverpool have been hunting for a high profile and solid centre back who will eventually replace club legend Jamie Carragher. Carragher is well past the best point of his career and has been restricted to starts in the Europa League and domestic cup competitions.
He also fits in perfectly with the shape of current Liverpool defenders Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger. He is quick, strong, athletic and most importantly, good on the ball.
Astori has been capped twice by his country and he has previously faced England in a friendly. This proves his pedigree as a top class international player is as good as anyone else Southampton could have chosen to target.
He has reportedly expressed an interest in joining Southampton if the offer is right but the club first have to agree a transfer fee with Cagliari which, at the moment, seems a little way off.
The Saints may also have to offer the higher end of their current pay packet to provide Astori with the personal terms that will convince him to join a Premier League side battling against relegation.
There is still time for Liverpool to change their offer because out of the two teams, Astori would most likely prefer a move to Anfield over a move to St Marys.
Are Southampton punching above their weight? Is there time for Liverpool to hijack this deal?
image: © mischatuffield