Dani Osvaldo’s teammates are understood to be furious at the club’s record-signing after he allegedly launched a headbutt at José Fonte.
The forward has been handed a two-week suspension by Saints, who accused him of a “breach of conduct”, after he left Fonte with facial injuries following Wednesday’s training ground incident.
The club have not laid any blame on Fonte for the incident and will be taking no action against him.
The centre half is a popular member of the dressing room, and his colleagues are said to be fuming at what happened to him.
They are also understood to be fully supportive of the decision to suspend Osvaldo and pleased that the club, and new interim chief executive Gareth Rogers, have issued a clear statement that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
The Italian international will face a significant battle to regain the trust of his teammates, if he is brought back into the fold.
Many of his colleagues, including Fonte, had helped him try to settle on the south coast following his transfer to the club in the summer, assisting him in finding a house and a car.
The incident could prompt Saints to offload the striker before the end of the transfer window, either permanently or on loan.
His position will likely become clearer when manager Mauricio Pochettino next faces the media, which is likely to be early next week.
There is said to be interest in Osvaldo from Spanish side Sevilla, while Inter Milan are also reported to be keen on acquiring the 28-year-old’s services, meaning there could be suitors if they wish to part ways quickly.
With just three goals in 13 league appearances this season, Osvaldo certainly has some way to go before Saints will feel he has justified the price they paid for him.
The club parted with an initial £12.9m to bring the forward to St Mary’s from Roma last summer, while that deal could rise to as much as £14.6m.
Osvaldo had been due to return to action on Saturday, having served a three-match ban for violent conduct, after the FA found him guilty and fined him £40,000 following his part in a touchline altercation at Newcastle last month.
However, he will now miss the FA Cup clash with Yeovil, while he is also definitely ruled out of next Tuesday’s visit of Arsenal and the following weekend’s trip to Fulham.
Former Saints defender Francis Benali believes there should be no place for Osvaldo if he is undermining the atmosphere in the squad.
He wrote on Twitter: “So far Dani Osvaldo has scored a goal almost every 300 mins or £5m a goal. If he’s a negative influence in the dressing room he should go!”
Saints’ statement yesterday read: “Southampton Football Club has today suspended striker Dani Osvaldo for two weeks, following an incident at the Club’s Staplewood training ground.
“The Club has taken swift and proper action for what it considers a breach of the conduct expected of its players. Southampton will be making no further comment on this matter.”