Southampton Transfer Rumors: 5 Attainable Players Still on Pochettino's Radar
With Dejan Lovren and Victor Wanyama now a part of Southampton, the Saints have spent over £20 million so far in the summer transfer market.
Pochettino has said that he likes the squad he has, but would like to strengthen the squad a bit more.
"Our squad as it is really good already, but we just want to bring in two or three players that reinforce key areas in the squad to become an even better team," Pochettino said in a press conference according to Simon Peach of the Independent last week.
So the Saints manager likely will make at least one more big splash before the summer is over. Here's a look at five players that are still on Pochettino's radar and the chances of them making a move to the South Coast.
Leandro Damiao, Internacional (Brazil)
Pochettino has declared that he is tracking Leandro Damiao, which is strange for a club that likes to keep its transfer dealings as low-key as possible.
Massimo Marioni of Metro.co.uk has Southampton linked to a £18 million move to Southampton, although Internacional director of football Luis Cesar Souto de Mora denies a bid has been made or that Damiao is available.
But Internacional president Giovanni Luigi recently said that "everything has its price" and put a £21.5 million price tag on the 23-year-old, according to Shane Callaghan of Goal.com.
Although Nicola Cortese hasn't been afraid to spend money in the past, £21.5 million would be at least nine million pounds more than Southampton spent on Wanyama or Gaston Ramirez. This seems to be a bit outside of Saints' range at the moment.
Maybe if Damiao's price comes back down into the £15-16 million range a move to Southampton will take place.
Ever Banega, Valencia (Spain)
Another player Pochettino declared interest in during his preseason press conference is Argentinian international Ever Banega.
Given Pochettino's Argentinian and La Liga roots, this move seems like a natural fit.
According to Alex Crook of the Daily Mirror, Southampton placed a £7.6 million bid for Banega in mid-June. However, not much news has materialized since then.
While Banega is more of an offensive central midfielder, he would create even more congestion in the Southampton squad with Morgan Schneiderlin, Gaston Ramirez, Jack Cork, Jay Rodriguez, Steven Davis, James Ward-Prowse and now Victor Wanyama all capable of contributing in the center of midfield.
But this is well within Cortese's price range, and Pochettino still seems interested, so stay tuned on this one.
Radja Nainggolan, Cagliari (Italy)
The Belgian is a midfielder that can play centrally or on the left, an area that Southampton could definitely use some strengthening in.
Nainggolan confirmed the interest of Southampton, but didn't appear immediately receptive to the Saints' advances.
"Honestly, Southampton gave me the biggest offer at the moment among the other clubs but I don't play football for money," Nainggolan said according to Skillen. "My priority is looking for a brighter future for my career and Southampton is my last choice."
It's understandable for a player to not accept the first offer they see, especially if more prestigious clubs like Inter Milan and Napoli are rumored to be interested. This may still happen, but it seems like a deadline day type of deal if it does.
Davide Astori, Cagliari (Italy)
Over the past few months, Southampton have been linked to a possible move for Nainggolan's Cagliari teammate Davide Astori, most recently by Gary Jones of the Daily Star.
That interest appeared to die out when the Saints signed Dejan Lovren from Lyon. With five center backs on the books, Pochettino certainly didn't need Astori as well.
However, with Vegard Forren heading back to Norway to play with his former club, Molde, a possible opening for Astori exists again.
With the Saints allowing Forren to depart, it looks like Pochettino may be content to start the season with Lovren, Maya Yoshida, Jose Fonte and Jos Hooiveld to choose from. But if one of them struggles or gets hurt in the preseason, this move may suddenly be back on.
Pablo Osvaldo, Roma (Italy)
In late June, Southampton had a £17 million move rejected by Pablo Osvaldo, despite Roma accepting the bid, according to Wayne Veysey of Goal.com.
However, according to TalkSport.co.uk, Pochettino denies making an offer, although the Saints manager did state his admiration for Osvaldo.
"Osvaldo is a great player," Pochettino told tuttomercatoweb.com according to TalkSport.co.uk. "I worked with him at Espanyol so I know what he can do."
At 27, Osvaldo would be a bit older than the usual transfer target for Southampton. But the connection to Pochettino at Espanyol can't totally be ignored.
There are certainly other clubs interested in the Roma striker, including Manchester City and Zenit St. Petersburg. Southampton probably do need another striker, but Osvaldo may be a bit of a long shot.