The Saints have been dealt a cruel blow to their defensive ranks, firstly missing out on Toby Alderweireld to Tottenham Hotspur and then losing Florin Gardos to a long-term injury.
With Nathaniel Clyne also leaving the club for Liverpool, it leaves the South Coast outfit short on options and seemingly in the market for a new defender this summer.
The latest report in the Mirror suggests that Hull’s Chester has been earmarked by boss Ronald Koeman as the ideal defensive recruit, although the Saints certainly aren’t alone in their interest.
"His valuation has soared after two impressive seasons in the top flight, and Saints have Everton, Aston Villa, Newcastle, West Brom and Crystal Palace as rivals for his signature,” the report states.
Which club is the best option for James Chester?
Chester’s excellent Premier League campaign with the Tigers illustrates his ability to play in the top flight, an opinion evidently shared by a number of clubs attempting to acquire his services.
Newcastle United’s defence appears to be on the verge of being strengthened with Chancel Mbemba’s imminent arrival (as per The Chronicle), while West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace are fairly solid in the centre-back department.
Should Everton lose John Stones to Chelsea, they will certainly have scope to bring in a new centre-back. Aston Villa likewise, with Dutch defender Ron Vlaar opting to leave the club on a free this summer.
As such, the Toffees, Villa and the Saints are arguably Chester’s best prospects in terms of regular first-team action with the latter able to offer him European football via the Europa League.