Newcastle United are hoping to come to an agreement with Mario Lemina this week as they look to snatch the out-of-favour midfielder from Premier League rivals Southampton, as reported by the Mail.
While the Saints are desperate to keep Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse at St Mary’s beyond the August transfer deadline, Ralph Hasenhuttl and co will not be quite so determined when it comes to Lemina’s future.
The former Juventus and Marseille enforcer became the club’s record signing when he arrived for around £15 million four years ago.
But Lemina has barely kicked a ball in anger since Hasenhuttl replaced Mark Hughes in late-2017 and, despite a decent loan spell at Fulham, he appears to have no future under the former RB Leipzig boss.
With just one year left on his £40,000-a-week contract, Southampton will not stand in his way as Newcastle come calling.
The Magpies have entered talks over a deal that would set them back just £4 million, a fee that will see Southampton make a dizzying £11 million loss.
Is Mario Lemina swapping Southampton for Newcastle?
The Mail adds that Newcastle owner Mike Ashley had reservations about buying a player who will turn 28 on September 1.
The Magpies staff have been able to change his mind, however, with head of recruitment Steve Nickson reported to be driving the interest in a player who featured in the 2017 Champions League final.
It is believed an agreement could be reached this week, with Newcastle offering a three-year contract.
It remains to be seen what Lemina’s arrival would mean for Isaac Hayden, the Newcastle fans’ favourite who has been linked with a shock switch to newly-promoted Watford in recent weeks.