French press: Southampton set to rival Newcastle for signing of Mario Lemina

Southampton are reportedly pursuing Marseille midfielder Mario Lemina.

According to Foot Mercato, Southampton are set to battle with Newcastle United for the signing of Marseille midfielder Mario Lemina.

Marseille have seen a mass exodus already this summer, losing the likes of Andre Ayew, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Dimitri Payet and Giannelli Imbula in what has been a tough summer for the French giants.

Now, they could face losing yet another player, with Foot Mercato reporting that Southampton have joined the race for Lemina's signature.

The report states that manager Ronald Koeman is lining up potential replacements for in-demand midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, and Lemina could be an option given the fire sale at Marseille this summer.

The 21-year-old, born in Gabon, joined Marseille from Lorient back in 2013, and featured in the first team under Marcelo Bielsa last season, demonstrating his athletic and technical abilities in the Marseille midfield.

The claims regarding Southampton's interest come just days after the Daily Mail reported that Newcastle were also pursuing Lemina - meaning a transfer battle could spark this summer.

Newcastle or Southampton?

If both Premier League clubs do make bids for Lemina this summer, the French Under-21 international could have a big decision to make over his future.

A move to Southampton would see him feature in the Europa League, whilst the lure of playing for a club known for developing young players could also be a factor.

Yet with Newcastle, Lemina could join a strong French contingent on Tyneside, and play on a regular basis considering the lack of quality options at Steve McClaren's disposal.

It would be a tough call for Lemina to make, and it could come down to playing straight away at Newcastle or waiting and developing over time at Southampton.

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