Saints will try to ensure they don’t get dragged into a bidding war for Davide Astori.
The Cagliari centre half is on the St Mary’s radar after an impressive couple of seasons for the Serie A club with Nigel Adkins seeking defensive reinforcements in the January transfer window.
It is understood that Saints are the only club to have made a formal approach for Astori with other clubs showing interest in the 25-year-old but not yet coming up with a solid offer.
However, Cagliari could attempt to use the other interest to negotiate a better deal.
Despite sitting 18th in the Serie A table they don’t feel under pressure to sell any of their star names this month and value Astori at about £12m.
That is a hefty fee for a central defender, but they can justify their price tag as they had agreed virtually that with Spartak Moscow in the summer only for Astori to turn down the chance of a move to Russia. It is believed that Astori would be more open to the idea of a move to the Premier League but the major stumbling block remains negotiation over the fee.
The January window is notorious for clubs paying over the odds.
Selling clubs know that buyers are desperate to wrap up business for the better players and are happy to string things out to try and achieve a better final price when panic sets in.
That is particularly the case when clubs don’t feel they have to sell, have a set fee in mind and there is multiple interest – all things that are true in the case of Astori.
Saints executive chairman Nicola Cortese handles much of the transfer negation process himself and proved he was prepared to tough it out as the club took weeks to wrap up the summer move for Gaston Ramirez.
Adkins though could do with a centre half in now and that is only going to intensify Cagliari’s determination to get full value for Astori.
Liverpool are one of the other clubs reportedly interested in Astori, with Italian sides Napoli and Juventus also monitoring the situation.
Astori has won two caps for the senior Italian side, the last in August’s 2-1 friendly defeat against England.
Saints are also weighing up the possible move for Inter Milan’s Philipe Coutinho who would cost about £10m too.