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Southampton and Watford have missed out on the signing of £5 million-rated Sporting Lisbon midfielder Idrissa Doumbia due to work permit issues, according to Sabah.

It is over a month since Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg swapped the South Coast for North London.

But, try as they might, the Saints are no closer to replacing their departed captain.

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There appears to be little movement in deals for the likes of Hamza Choudhury, Dejan Ljubicic and Orel Mangala while, after holding talks with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, Weston McKennie decided that the lure of Juventus was impossible to turn down.

22-year-old Doumbia, an Ivory Coast international who moved to Portugal from Russian football in 2019, is another energetic, deep-lying midfielder who has played his way on to Southampton’s radar.

But, according to Sabah, work-permit problems have scuppered any hopes Doumbia might have had of bringing his all-action style to the Premier League.

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A Bola suggested that another England-based outfit were interested, one plying their trade in the Championship. What’s more, that mystery club were willing to take the £5 million-rated Doumbia on loan with an option to buy.

And, if Sabha are to be believed, Watford were the club in question.

But they, like Southampton, have been unable to chew through the red tape with Doumbia now on his way elsewhere.

Galatasaray, Borussia Monchengladbach, Werder Bremen and Vincent Kompany’s Anderlecht are keen.

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