Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool have been dealt a blow in their alleged pursuit of Marcos Rojo after Southampton agreed to pay £14 million to sign the Sporting Lisbon defender this summer.
The Daily Express reports how the Argentina international has been the subject of widespread transfer speculation after a series of impressive performances at the World Cup in Brazil.
Rojo was deployed as a left-back by Alejandro Sabella at the finals, but also operates in a central defensive role for the Primeira Liga giants, and that's the position where he'll be expected to play at St Mary's.
Saints boss Ronald Koeman is on the lookout for defensive reinforcements following the £20 million departure of Croatian centre-back Dejan Lovren, who became the third player to leave the south coast for Anfield this summer.
Brendan Rodgers also raided Southampton for the services of Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana, as he looks to significantly strengthen his Liverpool squad ahead of their return to the Champions League in 2014/15.
Luke Shaw's £27 million switch to Manchester United has resulted in another academy graduate Matt Targett to be promoted into Southampton's first-team fold, while the season-long loan addition of Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand means Koeman is now satisfied with his options on the left side of defence.
Right-back Nathaniel Clyne is also equally capable of operating on the opposite flank, meaning that Rojo's arrival will surely be with a view to playing him in central defence alongside one of Jose Fonte, Maya Yoshida or Jos Hooiveld.
The £90 million received from five key player sales means that Southampton are able to pay what Sporting Lisbon require for the South American stopper's services, and after already having an £11 million offer knocked back are ready to return with an improved offer for the 24-year-old.
Man United interest
Louis van Gaal's alleged interest in the player comes as the Red Devils appear a little light in that area of the pitch, and the fact that Rojo is capable of playing in multiple positions means that he could also provide back-up to Shaw at Old Trafford.
Liverpool are known to be in the market for a new left-back, and having failed to negotiate a deal for Alberto Moreno could turn to the in-demand Sporting Lisbon star.
Jose Mourinho's courting of the World Cup finalist is seemingly more puzzling when you consider the Blues have already secured the signature of Brazilian left-back Filipe Luis and welcomed back central defender Kurt Zouma as cover for John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic at Stamford Bridge.
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