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Southampton Reportedly Target Mamadou Sakho as José Fonte Replacement

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The Saints look set to lose their star defender and could move for Liverpool’s outcast centre half as a result.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League 2 Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Southampton defender José Fonte has made clear he intends to depart St. Mary’s this January, going as far as handing in a transfer request. He was left out of their FA Cup squad over the weekend as a result, and now his manager has decided that he will be held out against Liverpool in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

And as a result, speculation has turned to Liverpool’s own defender on the block, with Mamadou Sakho still stuck in the reserves and needing a new home. Reports of interest in Italy have gone quiet, and Sakho wants a permanent move to a club in one of Europe’s top leagues. Southampton could be that club.

At least according to multiple tabloid outlets across the country. The Mirror, The Mail, The Metro. All are now linking Sakho with Southampton, who could be expected to have the money to spend on the 26-year-old Sakho should Fonte manage complete his desired move away from the club in the coming weeks.

If they want Sakho, though, they will need to be willing to splash the cash. Despite Sakho’s outcast status, Liverpool’s demands of a fee approaching £20M are reportedly stopping any continental clubs from bidding on him. In addition to a handful of Serie A sides, Sevilla were rumoured to be interested in the French defender.

The fee, though, was far too steep for them. With Fonte hoping to move to Manchester United, though, and with the spending power of Premier League sides generally, Southampton might just be willing to pay up. Particularly if it allows them to save face with their fans when it comes to the likely departure of Fonte.

Bournemouth have also reportedly signalled that they have interest in Sakho, though in their case it would only be a loan deal, something the French defender is believed to want to avoid.