On July 9th, France Football journalist Thymoté Pinon reported that OGC Nice are ‘close to an agreement’ with Southampton for Mario Lemina’s transfer.

Pinon had also stated that Newcastle United have made a move for the midfielder, but the Ligue 1 side are in pole position.

Watford and Cagliari are also in the race to sign the Frenchman if reports coming out of Italy are to be believed.

The 27-year-old spent the last two seasons away on loan at Galatasaray and Fulham, and with a year left on his Saints contract, a permanent exit from St Mary’s is much likelier to be on the cards this summer.

Saturday’s edition of La Nuova Sardegna explain the Hornets have ‘surprisingly joined’ the chase for the former Juventus man and Watford’s arrival at the scene has increased Cagliari’s competition. 

The newspaper add Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side have ‘understood’ that Lemina ‘wants to leave’ the club.

Therefore, Southampton are ‘waiting’ to see which club will come forward to take him.

Cagliari, for their part, have not submitted an offer for Lemina and can only consider such a step if Nahitan Nández ends up leaving the Serie A side this summer.