Cagliari are exploring a deal to sign Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina, according to Gianluca di Marzio, amid interest from Premier League duo Newcastle and Watford.

The Serie A side are keen to strengthen manager Leonardo Semplici’s options in the engine room at the Sardegna Arena. Gli Isolani have eyes on a handful of players who can improve the Italian’s squad, and believe Lemina is worth considering.

A move to Cagliari would see Lemina return to Italy four years after leaving Juventus for Southampton. The Saints paid £18m for the Gabon star, which marked a club-record fee for the south coast side in 2017.

Photo by Lee Smith – Pool/Getty Images

Cagliari will have to contend with Premier League interest if they are to sign Lemina, though. The Daily Mail claim Newcastle are willing to pay £5m for the midfielder, who is a free agent in 2022. While Chronicle Live add that Head of Recruitment Steve Nickson is driving the bid.

But Watford are also keen and have already seen an offer rejected, per Calciomercato. The Hornets proposed a swap-deal involving one of their out-of-favour players for the £40,000-per-week midfielder, but the identity of who was put forward was not claimed.

Most Important Player At EVERY Premier League Team

Now, Newcastle and Watford will also have to edge Cagliari to agree a deal for Lemina with Southampton, it seems. The Serie A side are eager to add reinforcements after narrowly avoiding relegation last season, something the Saints outcast endured on loan at Fulham.

Cagliari target Lemina can be Bruce’s all-action option at Newcastle

Newcastle beating Cagliari to a deal with Southampton can see the North East giants land head coach Steve Bruce a new all-action option for his midfield. The 27-year-old could hold his head high after relegation with Fulham, knowing he was one of their shining lights.

Scott Parker fielded the 19-cap Gabon international 28 times, starting 19, as the Cottagers’ deep-lying playmaker. It meant he rarely had a direct influence on the scoring, but struck home the winner at Liverpool and provided an assist as Fulham held Arsenal to a point.

His Anfield showcase summed up Lemina as a player and why Nickson is urging Newcastle to sign him. The Saints flop made light work of winning back possession, was always pressing and moved the ball nicely.

Lemina also shone against Newcastle in December from the base of Parker’s midfield, and played the pass of the game. Although it was the Southampton man’s disruptive presence in the engine room that gave Fulham hope of Premier League survival.

In other news, ‘From people I’ve spoken to’: Journalist delivers Mo Salah contract update