Real Valladolid centre back Mohammed Salisu is ‘closer than ever’ to securing a move to Southampton this summer.

That’s according to AS, who say Salisu chose Southampton over Ligue 1 side Rennes ‘a long time ago’ but had to wait for a work permit decision before moving to finalise the deal.

Salisu has earned rave reviews in Spain this season, with a series of impressive performances in his first full year for Valladolid.

He has subsequently been linked with clubs all around Europe, including several in the Premier League.

Southampton have regularly been named as the frontrunners of his English suitors, and it appears they are about to win the race for his signature.

AS report that Salisu has chosen Southampton as his next destination and, after waiting for a work permit to take ‘the final step’, is ready to do so.

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Sources close to the newspaper have told them that the deal, which has been ongoing for a month, has ‘begun to speed up’ and an outcome is on the way.

Valladolid has long given up on the player and, while they preferred him to move to Rennes, aren’t too bothered as they will be receiving the €12m in his release clause regardless.

Salisu, for his part, is said to favour a move to Southampton because he wants to play in the Premier League, is more comfortable with English than French and because Saints have offered a better deal.

According to the report, they’re giving him a four year deal with the option of an extra year at around €2m per year, while Rennes were only offering €1.8m.

That was enough to convince him to choose the Saints and let them secure a potential bargain ahead of the likes of Atlético Madrid.