Southampton ‘lock horns with Everton’ over Sporting defender

Date published: Wednesday 15th March 2017 10:31 - Daniel Roberts

Southampton are reportedly set to battle it out with former manager Ronald Koeman over a Sporting Lisbon defender. 

Everton and Saints have been tracking the Portuguese Primeira Liga side’s Ruben Semedo in recent months, with scouts from both clubs sent out to watch the 22-year-old.

Both Claude Puel and Koeman are in the market for a new centre-back, with the former out to replace Jose Fonte, who signed for West Ham in January and the latter keen to strengthen his backline.

Semedo, who only signed a new contract at Lisbon earlier this month, has been attracting interest from AC Milan and would cost around £20million.

Saints are hoping to team the central defender with club captain Virgil van Dijk, who is currently being chased by both Manchester City and Chelsea.

The south coast side have built up a reputation as a selling club in recent years, letting key assets move on, such as Luke Shaw, Nathaniel Clyne and Victor Wanyama. However, Saints’ chairman Ralph Krueger has claimed that the selling days are over, stating the club are keen to keep a hold of van Dijk.

When discussing the club allowing their top talents to move on, he sent a reassuring message to Southampton fans last month.

“We would like to keep this group together,” he said.

“We don’t want to do what we did in the last three summers every year. We would like to move away from that and we feel confident this summer will be a lot quieter in Southampton and we can keep the core of this team moving forward for a few years”.

However, they will allow fellow Portuguese national Cedric Soares leave the club with Barcelona linked with a shock £25million transfer bid for the defender – a massive five times more than what Southampton spent to bring him to St Mary’s.


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