Southampton are reportedly close to being able to confirm their 10th transfer deal of the summer window.
According to reports from le10sport.com in France and the Athletic, a deal has been agreed for midfielder Mario Lemina to join Ligue 1 side OGC Nice, with fees ranging from €4-5.5m are being reported.
A report from the Northern Echo yesterday suggested that Saints were close to an agreement with Newcastle but now it appears Nice have won the race to sign the Gabon international.
For Saints, they will lose depth from their squad in this scenario but also receive some vital funds that could enable more signings of their own during the next five weeks.
Does Lemina’s absense leave room for midfield signing at Southampton?
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The departure of Lemina will mark 10 completed deals for Saints so far. They have signed Theo Walcott, Romain Perraud and are expected to announce the signing of Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu soon, whilst Wesley Hoedt, Angus Gunn, Kayne Ramsay, Jake Vokins, Alex Jankewitz and Dan N’Lundulu have already departed the club.
There were some suggestions that Lemina would be given the chance to prove himself as an option for Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl this summer. He is said to have impressed with his professionalism in pre-season training so far.
However, despite his return being a possibility at one time, it now looks as though Lemina will be departing permanently and will be ending his four-year spell as a Saints player.
In central-midfield, James Ward-Prowse and Oriol Romeu will surely be the first-choice pairing for this season given their superb combined form early on in 2020/21. Ibrahima Diallo, Stuart Armstrong and Will Smallbone, who is still injured, will play backup roles but will still be needed over the course of the upcoming campaign.
There seems to be good depth in these areas when compared to other areas of the Saints squad right now. Signings in forward and defensive areas are more important, although there is always a chance that a desired player in another position may become available once the market opens up.
With the club set to recoup around an amount in the region of £10m for the players they have sold permanently, there are now extra funds available that could buy one more player.