Saints are expected to join the £130m Premier League bonanza already splashed out on strikers before the start of the season.

Mauricio Pochettino is hoping to bring in a front line centre forward to help share the burden with Rickie Lambert before the big kick-off three weeks tomorrow.

There have been strong links with the likes of Pablo Osvaldo and Leandro Damiao – but competition is fierce to buy proven goalscorers.

Their value to a team has never been in doubt, but it seems their worth has never been higher, which is underlined by the spending of Premier League clubs this summer.

Some 14 clubs have invested in new forwards during the closed season, and more than £130m has already been spent on new strike talent.

The latest top flight move is expected to see one-time Saints target Gary Hooper leave Celtic to join Norwich for around £5m.

Only Saints, Fulham, Manchester United, Newcastle, Stoke and Tottenham have so far not recruited at least one striker.

Most of those are in the market for one, though.

Spurs, Fulham and Saints are all said to have enquired after Italian international Osvaldo while Chelsea continue to eye Wayne Rooney.

If Rooney were to go, and Luis Suarez move to Arsenal, it could see spending on strikers alone in the Premier League break the £200m mark for the first time ever in one transfer window.

That would be an astonishing feat.

Clubs have been buoyed by the extra cash they are receiving from the new TV contract – up to £25m each just for next season alone – but it appears that transfer fees are going up accordingly.

To get top line goalscorers isn’t easy for any club.

The case of Damiao has proved just that this summer.

The Brazilian striker is being widely coveted, with Saints amongst those eyeing him.

He is undoubtedly a big talent but, with his club not keen to see him leave, they want a hefty price – and that might be too much of a gamble even for cash-rich Premier League sides.

Zenit St Petersburg are reported to be about to test the water with a bid of over £20m.

Osvaldo, meanwhile, has also been the subject of much speculation this summer.

The latest reports indicate that Fulham are increasingly confident of tying up a deal for the forward who played for Espanyol under Pochettino.

Saints are keen for another striker with Lambert’s only real back up being Emmanuel Mayuka, who has yet to prove himself, and Jay Rodriguez.

And Pochettino would prefer not to move Rodriguez as he has been so effective playing in a slightly deeper role.

Other strikers at St Mary’s such as Tadanari Lee and Billy Sharp appear to be surplus to requirements, having not gone on the club’s pre-season tour.