Saints will make a major statement if they can finalise a deal for Uruguay international Gaston Ramirez.

The 21-year-old Bologna star is on the verge of moving to St Mary’s, having revealed that a deal has been agreed in principle between the clubs.

Playmaker Ramirez, who has already accepted Saints’ offer of personal terms, is thought to be costing in the region of £12m.

That smashes the previous transfer record of £7m that the club paid for Jay Rodriguez earlier this summer.

It is certainly a display of impressive financial clout from newly-promoted Saints.

With Ramirez having been a target for both Liverpool and Tottenham this summer, not to mention Inter Milan, it also signals that the club can compete for big-name signings with some of the more established elite.

However, the finances must be sustainable.

Too many clubs have slid into trouble after saddling themselves with excessive debt through overspending and out-of-control wage structures.

If Saints are indeed moving to a higher stakes table then they must be certain they can cope with the increased outlays that will follow.

If they are sure they can, then the Ramirez deal is both exciting and encouraging.

How he will fit in among the squad will be intriguing also.

A versatile forward player, the logical position for him given Saints’ current circumstances would seem to be in one of the wide roles supporting a lone striker.

But he can be used to good effect more centrally and his arrival might even prompt Nigel Adkins into a rethink of how his team is currently set-up.