If the Saints were to lose their captain Jose Fonte, then who could they bring in to replace him?
There's no doubt that if the Saints were to lose Fonte they'd have to work quickly to replace him before the transfer window closes. Who could they buy for a similar value?
Jose Fonte celebrates after scoring for Southampton
1. Aymen Abdennour
Aymen Abdennour of Valencia challenges Cristiano Ronaldo
According to The Daily Mail, Everton are considering a move for Valencia defender Abdennour after growing frustrated in their attempts to sign Lamine Kone, and at a price of £15 million, Southampton could put their hat in the ring for the Tunisian centre-back, were they to lose Fonte.
At 27 he is slightly younger than Fonte, but has amassed plenty of experience playing primarily in France. Yet to prove his worth with Valencia after a year at the club, he may find that his physicality is more suited to the Premier League. With a guarantee of first team football on offer, a move for Abdennour could be an astute one for Southampton.
2. Lewis Dunk
Brighton's Lewis Dunk
Dunk is a player that has been a consistent performer in the Championship for some years now, and deserves his chance in the Premier League. The Mirror claim that West Brom are interested in Dunk, and have already had a £7 million bid rejected by his club Brighton.
It appears that his price tag is almost exactly the same as Fonte's, and he would command a lower wage than Fonte. At 24, would Southampton take a gamble on Dunk as a player who could be a part of the Saints' backline for many years to come?
3. Simon Kjaer
Fenerbahce's Simon Kjaer
Much like the previous two centre-backs, Kjaer is a man in demand. Sky Sports report that Arsenal are supposedly considering moving for the Danish international as opposed to offering for Fonte, but if they do opt for Fonte then Southampton could move for the Gunners' other target at centre-back.
His club, Turkish side Fenerbahce value Kjaer at €15 million, again a similar value to Fonte. The 27 year-old has played for some huge clubs around Europe, the likes of AS Roma and VFL Wolfsburg, but having spent the last year in the Turkish league, might there be a question mark as to whether Kjaer can make the step up to the Premier League? English top flight clubs have showed interest in Kjaer at previous points in his career, and with nearly 60 international caps to his name, perhaps Kjaer might be worth taking a chance on.
First and foremost, the Saints will be desperate not to lose captain Jose Fonte who has been at St Mary's since 2010 and accumulated almost 250 appearances. But if they were to lose such an important player, they'll need to make the right choice as to who will replace him.
There are plenty more options out there for Southampton to pursue than just these three players, but this trio of centre-backs should form part of the Saints shortlist for a new centre-back. They are all available at a reasonable price, and could all become a key part in the Southampton defence.