Saints may have to make Scott Dann their second most expensive ever signing if they are to land the centre half.
Nigel Adkins has been reported as weighing up a £3.5m bid for the 25-year-old defender – but it is understood Blackburn are desperate to prove their ambition to bounce back from Premier League relegation at the first time of asking and would only consider letting Dann leave for a much more considerable fee.
Dann had a £6m buyout clause inserted into his contract when he joined Blackburn last year, and Rovers are believed to want to try and hold out for that sum.
It may be that if Dann is determined to leave that they will compromise but, while the fee will not match the £7m Saints club record spent on Jay Rodriguez, it is likely to have to beat the previous best £4m spent on Rory Delap if the player is to be at St Mary’s next season.
Coincidentally, the other major club to show an interest in Dann are Saints’ visitors to St Mary’s on Saturday, Dutch side Ajax.
They have been considering a loan move for the former England under-21 international, as they also reportedly felt that the £6m buyout clause was a steep price to pay.
Dann is a highly rated defender but has now suffered the heartache of Premier League relegation in two successive seasons.
He started his career at Walsall before a £1m switch to Coventry in January 2008 where he starred alongside Danny Fox , the now Saints defender.
After 18 months with the Sky Blues, Birmingham snapped Dann up, paying around £3.5m for his services.
After a decent first season, Dann suffered heartache in January 2011 as he injured his hamstring in the Carling Cup semi-final and was ruled out for the remainder of the season, having to watch from the stands as his club’s league form continued to struggle and they were relegated.
Blackburn moved in to take him straight back to the Premier League, paying £6m to sign him.
But his one season at Ewood Park also ended in relegation.
Saints are determined to add at least, one and maybe even two, centre halves to their squad before the start of the Premier League season.
They currently have frontline defenders Jose Fonte and Jos Hooiveld but their only cover is Dan Seaborne , who is making his way back from a serious head injury, and youngster Jack Stephens who is impressing in the first team squad but who has little in the way of experience.
Aaron Martin is on a season long loan at Crystal Palace.