Southampton must pay a club-record £23 million to sign Martin Hinteregger from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt, according to the Frankfurter Rundschau.
Before you all point out that the Saints have already signed one centre-half this week, do not make the mistake in assuming that Mohammed Salisu will be the only new defender to arrive at St Mary’s this summer.
As Sky reported last month, Southampton were always planning to sign two during the transfer window. Alongside Salisu, they wanted another Europe-based stopper.
Frankfurt’s highly-rated Frenchman Evan Ndicka has been linked but it seems that it is his Commerzbank Arena team-mate who is now the number one target.
But Hinteregger won’t come cheap.
In fact, with a minimum fee of £23 million being demanded by the 2019 Europa League semi-finalists, the Austria international would become Southampton’s biggest signing of all time.
Considering that many of their most expensive additions have failed to live up to expectations, from Guido Carrillo to Moi Elyounoussi, Sofiane Boufal to Jannik Vestergaard, Hinteregger would arrive under plenty of scrutiny.
Yet if you ask Frankfurt coach Adi Hutter, this is a defender who can play at the very top of the European game.
“He is one of the best goal-scorers among defenders in Europe. Martin is a really good defender who could play 100 per cent in the Champions League because he is a complete player,” Hutter told SGE4ever of a man who scored nine times from centre-half in 2019/20.
“When he’s in top shape, he’s a machine.”