Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Premier League strugglers need a new defender but Porto’s Diogo Leite is heading to La Liga with Valencia instead.

Southampton are set to miss out on the signing of Porto youngster Diogo Leite with Valencia on the verge of a big-money deal instead, according to A Bola.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints have the second-worst defensive record in the Premier League this season (a 52-goal tally obviously exacerbated by that 9-0 thrashing by Leicester City) so it’s no surprise that the South Coast club are scouring the market for new centre-halves.

And Leite, who has been linked with a move to St Mary’s via O Jogo, feels very much like an archetypal Southampton signing – at least one from the heady days of Ronald Koeman or Mauricio Pochettino when gleaming, unpolished gems arrived almost every summer. 

A natural-born leader at just 21, Leite has been very highly rated in his homeland since he lead Portugal to glory at the U17 European Championships four years ago.

And though he is yet to establish himself as a regular starter at Porto, playing just 92 minutes of Primeira Liga football all season, it seems that a big-money move is still pretty much an inevitability.

A Bola reports that super-agent Jorge Mendes is set to orchestrate a deal for another Iberian wonderkid with Valencia seemingly all-but tying up a deal, though there is some consternation about the price-tag as it stands.

Los Che were offering £14 million. Porto, however, want closer to £20 million.

So unless Southampton throw themselves head and shoulders into the mix right now, they will have to spend the summer looking elsewhere.

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