Southampton face battle for Spanish star

Espanyol midfielder Joan VerduSouthampton have a fight on their hands in the race for Joan Verdu, with news that Atletico Madrid are preparing a move, according to reports from talkSPORT.

New Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly keen on drafting in the 29-year-old, whom he managed at Espanyol earlier this season, as he looks to steer the club clear of relegation from the Premier League.

Verdu’s current contract is set to expire at the end of the campaign, meaning that the La Liga side are likely to accept a reduced bid for his signature this month rather than allowing him to leave for free this summer.

MLS outfit the Seattle Sounders are believed to be interested, as well as a number of clubs from around Asia.

But, Atletico now look to be entering the race and are looking to offer him three-year contract to join them once season has ended.

However, a move to England is understood to be highly attractive to Verdu, which may give the St Mary’s Stadium-based outfit the upper hand.

He could sign a pre-contract agreement this month, but it appears more likely that Pochettino would look to bring him in for the latter half of the domestic season by registering a bid ahead of the transfer deadline.

Verdu started his career with Barcelona, before representing Deportivo and Espanyol.

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