Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina could leave the club permanently for around £7m this summer to end his nightmare stay at St Mary’s.
According to a report from the Guardian’s Ed Aarons, West Ham and Newcastle are interested in signing him after his performances for relegation threatened Fulham this season.
In all, Lemina has made 52 appearances for Saints but it was clear he was never part of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s plans and has not been since the Austrian took charge back in December 2018.
If the right buyer can be found and they are offering the right price, a permanent deal would make sense with his Saints contract running out in June 2022.
Southampton need all the funds they can get this summer
This summer’s transfer window has to be a big one for Saints if they are to progress in the way they want to under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
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Players that are bought are still likely to be ones that cost less but have a greater potential value in the future, but a number of new faces are required to ensure quality and depth throughout 2021/22.
To get a fee of £7m for Lemina would be good – not when compared to the price they paid for him originally but when his contract situation, financial strains produced by the pandemic and other factors are taken into account.
Some first-team regulars may be on their way out. Danny Ings, Ryan Bertrand and Jannik Vestergaard all have contract situations that have been well-documented and Saints may be forced to cash in on some. Other loanees like Lemina may be moved on permanently too to boost funds.
Really Saints need to get together an amount of around £50m to bring in four or five quality players and produce strong competition throughout the squad next season.
The fact that injuries have caused so many problems for the club in 2020/21 means that they need to do everything they can to reduce the chances of their high-intensity style having such an effect again.