Southampton plotting eleventh hour double January raid

Lazio player Mauro Zarate

Southampton are gearing up to make a late transfer window swoop for  Roberto Firmino and Mauro Zarate, the Daily Mail understand.

New Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino is desperate to add to his squad before January is out and had hoped to beat Premier League rivals Liverpool to the signature of Inter Milan midfielder Phillipe Coutinho.

But the 21-year-old Brazilian, whom Pochettino coached at Espanyol last season, looks set for a move to Anfield after the Serie A giants accepted an £8.5million offer from the Reds on Saturday.

The 40-year-old Argentinian, who replaced Nigel Adkins at St Mary’s earlier this month, will now turn his attentions to other targets with fellow countryman Zarate reportedly high on his wish list.

The 25-year-old is no stranger to English football having spent time on loan with Birmingham in 2008 but has struggled to live up to his star billing since joining Lazio permanently from Al-Saad in 2009 following a temporary switch.

He spent last season with Inter but didn’t do enough to earn a permanent move to the San Siro although it’s thought he is reluctant to leave the Rome club and return to the Premier League.

Pochettino is also looking at 21-year-old Firmino who has impressed for Bundesliga strugglers Hoffenheim since arriving in 2010 and will have to part with £7m to prise him away.

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