Saints plan to use the transfer market to strengthen their squad in at least five key positions this summer.

The club are understood to have identified a number of priority areas that they would like to either improve or add greater depth to.

One of the main positions is right-back, where Saints are on the hunt for another player to compete with Nathaniel Clyne, who enjoyed a good first season in the Premier League, but for whom there is no obvious natural cover. They would also like to add another centre back.

Currently, Maya Yoshida, Jos Hooiveld and José Fonte operate in that position, while £4m January signing Vegard Forren, the Norwegian international, is yet to play.

However, Saints remain keen on additional resources there, and it is thought their preference is for another left-sided centre-half.

A new striker is also understood to be on the agenda.

Top scorer Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez are the only real natural options in that position who regularly play, with the latter often deployed in a deeper, or wider, role.

Another central midfield player to supplement Morgan Schneiderlin, Jack Cork, Steven Davis and James Ward-Prowse has also been spoken about, but, given the form of some of those players last season, any new addition would need to be of an extremely high quality to break into the team.

Saints have already been linked with Cagliari’s Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan, although Inter Milan are said to be hopeful of signing him.

They have also been rumoured to be interested in Celtic’s Victor Wanyama.

Beyond those four positions, Saints are also considering adding one more winger and were last week linked with a move for Brighton wide man Will Buckley.

The club have been scouting in numerous countries over the past months in preparation for the summer.

That operation has been coordinated by scouting and recruitment manager Paul Mitchell and senior recruitment officer Bill Green, who come under the umbrella of the club’s football development and support centre, which is overseen by executive director Les Reed.

In addition, Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino is expected to use his contacts around Europe and his knowledge of the continental football scene, while chairman Nicola Cortese also has his own connections that he can utilise.

The next three months will be important ones for the club if they are to realise their lofty ambitions of challenging towards the top end of the Premier League next season.

The introduction of the major new television deal, coupled with the ongoing backing Cortese appears to have secured from owner Katharina Liebherr, indicates that Saints will have a fairly deep pool of transfer funds to dip into.