Saints will have to smash their transfer record if they are to make Uruguayan playmaker Gaston Ramirez their marquee summer signing.

The club have money to spend on a big money acquisition having only splashed out about £10m on players so far this summer, and Ramirez would certainly fit that bracket with Bologna wanting more than £12m for the international star.

It is believed that executive chairman Nicola Cortese has held discussions over a potential move for Ramirez, though it was confirmed earlier this week that the only official bid from England for the player was from Tottenham.

Bologna accepted their offer of 16m euros, about £12.6m, but the deal fell through because Spurs were not prepared to match Ramirez’s wage demands.

A move for Ramirez would certainly be an ambitious one from Saints, with the player costing so much and likely to stretch their wage structure but the club remain keen to recruit more faces to boost their Premier League campaign.

Ramirez can play in a variety of attacking positions but Saints would be most interested in his ability to feature as winger, something he has done with great success in Serie A as well as for his country.

The 21-year-old started his career at Penarol in Uruguay but was snapped up by Bologna two years ago for 2.5m euros.

He has gone on to score 12 goals in 58 appearances for the Italian side and won nine caps for Uruguay.He was most recently seen playing for his country in the Olympics .

If Saints were prepared to part with the hefty fee for services, wages would also be a consideration.

Saints will want to be careful not to alienate their current stars by bringing in a player on a much higher salary, but also want to compete for the best players available.

Ramirez’s agent, Pablo Betancourt, said of the failed Spurs deal: “The only solid offer is the one from Tottenham, who offered 16m euros.

“But the deal didn’t go through because Spurs offered too low a wage to the player and if the wage difference is minimal he would stay at Bologna.”

He added: “Inter Milan are interested in the player, but cannot afford to offer cash like the teams in the Premier League.

“Tottenham could raise their offer if they sell Modric and in that case the deal could be done.”