Hull striker Shane Long has emerged as a transfer target for Saints, as they look to increase their firepower for the new Premier League season.
The club are understood to have contacted the Tigers about the 27-year-old, with one report last night suggesting that a £12m fee had already been agreed.
Saints signed striker Graziano Pelle from Feyenoord earlier this summer, but have been planning on adding another forward to their squad before the transfer window shuts.
They have held an interest in Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez, but a deal for the Mexican has always appeared unlikely, with Long perhaps representing a more realistic option.
Saints have looked at Long before, and considered a move for him last January, before Hull signed him.
The high-energy forward was seen then as an ideal fit for the system that they played, and the club are likely to retain a belief that he would suit the style of new manager Ronald Koeman.
The potential size of the reported fee would surprise many people, though, especially as Long has never reached double figures in a single Premier League season.
However, with the new campaign about to get underway, Saints would certainly be keen for a quick resolution to any deal and would know that Hull would likely want a significant profit on the £6m they paid for Long in order to sell so quickly.
With plenty of ammunition in the transfer budget as well, following a summer that has featured some big-money departures, the club can undoubtedly afford to pay a premium.
Long, who has 47 caps and 11 goals for the Republic of Ireland, has only been at Hull since January, when he moved to the club from West Brom.
In his short spell with the Tigers, he made 15 Premier League appearances and scored four times.
Prior to that, Long had been at West Brom since August 2011, after signing from Reading for £6.5m.
He netted 19 top-flight goals in 60 starts and 21 substitute appearances for the Baggies.
Long had previously enjoyed six good years with the Royals, who picked him up from Cork City, scoring 54 times in 203 appearances across all competitions.