Southampton have been given a real boost in the race to sign Benfica full-back Nuno Tavares this summer.
According to Portuguese news outlets A Bola and O Jogo (via Sports Witness), Saints are real contenders to sign the 21-year-old after Napoli failed with a bid and the player looks set to assess his options in England.
Multiple reports detailing Tavares’ situation from Portugal have been picked up by Sports Witness recently and it appears that Saints are one of the teams at the front of the queue as they try to fill their full-back positions.
Interestingly, Tavares can play as a left or right-back and is the fourth player of this type to be linked to Saints this summer after Brandon Williams, Junior Firpo and Neco Williams.
Which full-back will Southampton go for in this transfer window
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Via reports from France, Saints are said to be close to signing Stade Brest left-back Romain Perraud and he is likely to be a straight replacement for Ryan Bertrand.
With just Kyle Walker-Peters as a regular senior full-back other than that though, the club will be looking to add at least one more option. This is where the value of players covering multiple positions comes into play significantly.
Four options in Benfica’s Tavares, Manchester United’s Brandon Williams, Liverpool’s Neco Williams and Barcelona’s Junior Firpo have all been linked and each could play the role of two players in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s plans should they join.
Having one player as backup for multiple positions has its plus points. There are more chances for them to play if they are not first-choice and a team is less likely to have players playing out of position, which Saints did have at times last season.
There is a fine line between leaving a squad short on numbers and having enough depth though, even if one of these players ends up at St Mary’s this summer.