Saints are still expecting to complete the signing of Martin Caceres - and hope he will be ready to join Claude Puel’s squad for their pre-Wembley trip to Spain.

The 29-year-old centre half is committed to a move to St Mary’s, with the club confident the deal for the free agent is watertight amid reported interest from Barcelona.

Caceres has had to travel back home to Uruguay after the sudden death of his brother at the weekend.

He was in Italy when he got the news, having had to return there while he waited for a work permit which would allow the formalities of his Saints deal to be completed.

The club had been hoping to confirm his signing at the beginning of this week, but are allowing Caceres time to grieve with his family and refusing to put any pressure on him to move to England at such a difficult time.

Claude Puel has given his squad four days off after the win at Sunderland anyway, which gives extra breathing space in terms of the build-up to Wembley.

The players will reconvene at Staplewood tomorrow for training and a round of media commitments ahead of the League Cup final before heading to Spain on Friday for a few days of intensive training, and it is hoped that Caceres will be in place by then.

Puel has double training sessions planned for each day of the trip as he looks to get his squad into the perfect physical and mental condition to take on Manchester United.

How Caceres fares on the Spain trip will likely decide whether he will be considered for a starting berth at Wembley.

Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida performed admirably in the convincing win over Sunderland and have earned the right in many people’s eyes for the way they played against Liverpool in the semi-final.

However, Caceres, though not having played for more than a year, has considerable qualities and experience, having starred for the likes of Juventus and Barcelona in his career and also having collected a winner’s medal from several major finals.

His presence will come as a welcome boost, even if he doesn't figure in the final and is therefore around only for the remainder of the Premier League campaign, as the club seek to temporarily replace the injured Virgil van Dijk, who has been their leader on the pitch this season.