Saints are considering a formal bid for Crystal Palace pair Wilfried Zaha and Nathaniel Clyne.
The Daily Echo understands that the talented youngsters could be the subject of an £8m joint offer from Saints.
Palace, though, will try and get even more for their hottest stars.
Zaha and Clyne fit the Saints transfer mould perfectly – talented, young, British players who won’t command big wages.
Palace are already resigned to losing Clyne with the 21-year-old defender out of contract.
Though Clyne’s deal is expiring, Palace are still attempting to agree a fee directly with clubs, rather than lose him to a compensation fee set by a tribunal.
Although the Eagles are thought to value Clyne at about £5m, the likelihood is they will have to accept nearer £2m.
His signing would be a major coup for Saints if they could land him with Manchester United, Newcastle, Reading, Fulham and West Ham also interested.
A £2m valuation of Clyne would fit perfectly into an £8m joint bid from Saints with 19-year-old livewire Zaha rated at about £6m.
Palace are keen to hold on to Zaha but, in the face of such a big bid, may be forced to let him move on to the top flight.
Zaha was born in the Ivory Coast but moved to London as a child and, like Clyne, has come through the ranks at Palace.
He is still very much a raw and precocious talent, but has blistering pace out wide and has already racked up 81 appearances for Palace.
Like Clyne, he has reached England under-21 level.
He was named Football League Young Player of the Year last season.
Palace chairman Steve Parish has already stated his desire to get a move for Clyne sorted out and said: “There is a bit of action in the background and we know there is a lot of interest.
“It is just about sorting out who it is best to go to and who will put the right money on the table. We’re all working to get an outcome.
“Clubs don’t want to go down the tribunal route.
“It is a game of cat and mouse on the fee — we’ve just got to let that play out.”
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