Southampton Chief Executive Martin Semmens has hinted that a deal to sign Real Valladolid defender Mohammed Salisu is close to completion.
Strong reports from multiple sources have confirmed that the young Ghanaian is indeed a target for Saints as they look to bolster their defence ahead of the 2020/21 season.
The most recent news has suggested that a work permit has been granted for Salisu to play in England but that quarantine regulations to stop the spread of Covid-19 may be delaying an announcement.
Via an exclusive interview with BBC Radio Solent reporter Adam Blackmore, Semmens said:
“He’s a player that we have looked at for a long time – a really, really high quality young player in Europe and one that would add something to our squad. We hope that we are lucky enough to get him. We will know more (on a move) soon I think.
“It is fair to say to everybody that he is one that were are looking very closely at.”
Semmens is still keeping his cards fairly close to his chest here but is still being refreshingly open about the situation that Saints find themselves in.
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It is clear that Salisu is a major transfer target for the club ahead of the upcoming season and it is easy to see why with what he brings.
A physical and dominant presence – despite not at his full potential yet – is exactly what Saints need. Being a left-footed centre-back too adds another attribute that Ralph Hasenhuttl does not have available to him right now.
The fee being quoted for Saints’ deal here is around £11m, which can be seen as outstanding business if Salisu continues to develop in his time at St Mary’s and increases his resale value.
To think that the 21-year-old will be on the South Coast for a long time is perhaps foolish, but the fact that he is set to choose Saints over many other clubs shows exactly what they can offer talented young players.
Semmens referenced this in this interview too by saying that Saints offer Salisu something unique – a direct pathway to high level football and the chance to showcase abilities to other bigger clubs.
This is not confirming a “feeder club” label by any means. It is just pure honesty and will benefit Saints into the future because they can build a top team for two to three years before selling for profit and rebuilding once again.