FORMER Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino paid tribute to Davide Astori, the Fiorentina captain who died at the weekend, and admitted he tried to sign the Italian when he was at St Mary's.

Astori, who was linked with a move to Saints on many occasions, died following a "sudden illness" at the age of 31.

On Sunday, the Italy international was found dead in his hotel room ahead of Fiorentina's Serie A match against Udinese.

"I want to send my condolences to the Astori family and all the people who love him," Tottenham boss Pochettino said.

"I had the possibility to meet him three years ago. Had the chance to sign him at Southampton and spent three hours with him, over lunch. We share the pain.

"I want to send all my energy to his family."