According to reports in The Sun this week, Southampton and Everton could go head-to-head for the £20m signature of Sporting Lisbon defender Ruben Semedo.
Saints boss Claude Puel is looking to sign a centre-back this summer as a replacement for Jose Fonte – who joined West Ham in January – and he might need to bring in another if Virgil van Dijk continues to attract the interest of the bigger sides in the Premier League.
Even though they brought in free agent Martin Caceres last month, the Uruguayan was only signed until the end of the campaign and his future at St Mary’s is far from certain either.
Meanwhile, with Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams getting no younger, and few other options available to him, Toffees manager Ronald Koeman will also surely be looking to strengthen his options at centre-half in the summer.
The duo are both said to have regularly scouted Semedo, and it appears as though they have been largely impressed with what they have seen.
However, they may be slightly concerned that he has been dropped from the starting XI for his side’s last four Primeira Liga matches in recent weeks by manager Jorge Jesus.
Despite that, the 22-year-old might have done enough to convince scouts from both clubs that he is ready for a move to the Premier League, and his stats from this term back that up.
In 18 league appearances, Semedo has shown what a good defender he is by winning 34 tackles, as well as making 54 interceptions and 47 clearances.
If Saints do lose Van Dijk, Claude Puel will want someone who can replace his strength in the air and having won 48 aerial duels, Semedo has certainly shown that to be one of his main attributes.
Both Puel and Koeman like their centre-backs to be good on the ball, and with a 90% passing accuracy he ticks the boxes there too.
One negative does come in the form of the 22-year-old’s discipline though, with the centre-half being sent off on two occasions this term.
That is something that can be easily rectified though, and his impressive defensive attributes could be enough to see both Southampton and Everton launch bids to bring him to England this summer.