Southampton are preparing to launch an ambitious £10 million bid for Cagliari defender Davide Astori, reports The Daily Mail.

Astori has been an key asset to the Italian side - he is strong in the air and positionally dependable. The 26-year-old is in high demand as he finds himself being pursued by Napoli and Spartak Moscow, according to reports.

Despite this, Southampton are in pole position to sign Astori, who was linked with Liverpool back in January, with the tough-tackling centre-back having made it clear that he favours a move to the Premier League.

A summer switch to the relegation threatened side is dependent on the Saints retaining their top flight status, and if they are successful, Southampton would offer the Italian international the chance to play regular first-team football in what is arguably the most competitive division in world football.

One might suggest that at this stage of the season, Southampton should be focused on league survival. Yet the transfer world is highly competitive and Southampton chairman, Nicola Cortese, is looking ahead and is keen to back his newly-appointed manager over the summer months.

Mauricio Pochettino's side have conceded 52 goals in 20 games and have looked weak at the back on many occasions this season. The Saints have frequently got themselves into good positions, often taking the lead in games before throwing away the lead, exposing their defensive frailties.

Within Southampton's first five fixtures, they led Manchester United and Manchester City before losing both games through individual errors, highlighting the need for defensive reinforcements.

An additional defender would build upon the January signing of Norwegian star Vegard Forren, and would be a sensible acquisition given that it would boost the south coast outfit's options. Having missed Jose Fonte through injury in recent weeks, Southampton's lack of strength in depth has been highlighted, and the arrival of Astori would go a long way to improving their defensive resolve.


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