SAINTS are reportedly one of three Premier League teams ‘closely watching’ Manchester United outcast Jesse Lingard, ahead of a potential transfer exit.

Lingard, 28, was subject to a number of offers over the summer with his contract expiring in summer 2022 and his rejection of the latest terms offered by United.

The attacking midfielder linked up with former manager David Moyes during a prolific loan spell in the second half of the 2020-21 season, where he scored nine in 16 Premier League matches.

His performances forced him back into international reckoning, despite narrowly missing out on the European Championship squad in a similar manner to Saints skipper James Ward-Prowse, but he has only made five substitute appearances in the Premier League this campaign – scoring twice.

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International transfer journalist Ekrem Konur is reporting that Saints are now among the three teams interested in his signature, with a permanent move away from boyhood United looking likely.

He also reports that the club would be looking for a £12million fee in order to part with Lingard before the end of his current deal.

The two other clubs named as interested are West Ham, following his success at London Stadium last season, as well as recently invested-in Newcastle United.

However, a sticking point for Saints’ interest may be his high wages on the books at United, with both Hammers and Magpies likely able to offer more should a move materialise.

Daily Echo: Jesse Lingard scored in the 2016-17 EFL Cup final versus Saints (Pic: PA)Jesse Lingard scored in the 2016-17 EFL Cup final versus Saints (Pic: PA)

Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has also commented on how he has a large pool of attacking midfielders/forwards to work with already, with the likes of Nathan Tella, Moussa Djenepo and Theo Walcott all failing to find regular gametime.

In his career, Lingard has made 154 appearances and scored 29 goals in the Premier League.

Lingard also scored against Saints in the 3-2 defeat in the EFL Cup final, in 2016-17, when Manolo Gabbiadini’s brace was cancelled out by a late Zlatan Ibrahimovic winner.