FOLLOWING Dane Jannik Vestergaard’s Saints exit, linking up with Brendan Rodgers at FA Cup winners Leicester City, a number of centre-back’s names have circulated media as potential replacements.

They vary from seasoned Premier League pros coming to the end of their career to untried and untested young future stars – and everything inbetween.

Here are the most prominent names that have been reported as Saints’ transfer targets in this summer window...

Joe Worrall

In a joint report by Nottinghamshire and Hampshire Live, Saints’ heightened interest in Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall was identified.

The 6foot 3’ centre-back was born in Hucknall and is just 24-years-old, despite having four years of Championship experience and a loan spell at Rangers in the Scottish Premiership (2018-19).

Worrall was named the second-best player as the England under-20 side lifted the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017, behind Bournemouth forward David Brooks – who now represents Wales.

Although unproven at Premier League level - his current Forest contract doesn’t expire until 2024, meaning he could set the club back upwards of £10m or more to prise from the Championship side.

Daily Echo: Joe Worrall is Forest skipper and one of the Championship's top defendersJoe Worrall is Forest skipper and one of the Championship's top defenders

Tosin Adarabioyo

Manchester-born Tosin Adarabioyo is a product of Manchester City’s academy but moved to Fulham on a permanent basis after 18-years with the Cityzens in October 2020.

Although the Cottagers were relegated, Adarabioyo impressed and proved that he could perform in the Premier League – and he’s still only 23.

Attributed to be 6foot 5’ tall, the centre-back also has loan spells at West Brom (2018-19) where he reached the Championship play-off semi-final, and played alongside Adam Armstrong at Blackburn the following season.

Reports from The Express have linked the Fulham man with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side. Fulham only paid under £2m to acquire him from City but have the option to extend his 2023 contract for a further year, adding value to his next price tag.

Daily Echo: Tall centre-back Tosin Adarabioyo has Premier League experienceTall centre-back Tosin Adarabioyo has Premier League experience

Gary Cahill

A report from The Telegraph declared that Saints are interested in Gary Cahill, who is a free agent after departing Crystal Palace this summer.  

The 35-year-old centre-back is a former Chelsea stalwart and England international, who would bring Premier League know-how not found anywhere else in the Saints squad.

He has won every major trophy available to an English club, but it’s unlikely this reported interest would materialise.

Daily Echo: Gary Cahill is not short of winner's medals after his Chelsea stintGary Cahill is not short of winner's medals after his Chelsea stint

Nat Phillips

Nat Phillips links to Saints have widely circulated media in recent days, following news of Jannik Vestergaard’s Leicester move – including reports from The Athletic.

The 6foot 3’ Bolton-born centre-back made 17 Premier League appearances for Liverpool last season aid injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, and although started out rocky grew into his game.

The 24-year-old is cited as having world-class understanding of how to play the game, but perhaps not with the tools to play it to a world-class standing.

Also enjoyed a loan spell at Germany’s Stuttgart during the 2019-20 season – this one seems to have gone cold with Saints declared by reports as not pursuing his signature.

Daily Echo: Nat Phillips played 17 times for Liverpool during the 2020-21 Premier League campaignNat Phillips played 17 times for Liverpool during the 2020-21 Premier League campaign

Koni De Winter

Earlier in the transfer window, Juventus youngster Koni De Winter was linked with Saints – but seems to have gone quiet since.

The 19-year-old Belgian is a youth international and plays for Juventus’ under-23 side in Serie C, and can even deputise at right and left-back – which could be valuable given the lack of depth in the latter.  

Belgian news outlet Het Belang van Limburg reported that both Saints and Brighton were interested in July, although the youth captain has three more years on his contract after signing a new deal in February this year.

He hasn’t made his senior debut for the Turin outfit yet but was on the bench for a Champions League group stage tie vs Barcelona in October 2020.

Daily Echo:

Duje Caleta-Car

Hampshire Live also reported apparent Saints interest in Marseille’s Croatian defender Duje Caleta-Car.

The 24-year-old is a senior international and was linked to a January move to the likes of Liverpool, during their centre-back crisis.

He is highly rated and would likely command a fee well out of Saints’ price range, with prior links to top clubs suggesting £30m+.

The French side paid £18m themselves when they purchased him from Red Bull Salzburg in 2018, and he’s only gone on and improved since then.

Daily Echo: Duje Caleta-Car tackles Raheem Sterling at EURO 2020Duje Caleta-Car tackles Raheem Sterling at EURO 2020