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Southampton suffer blow in bid to sell Mario Lemina as Arsenal close on Dani Ceballos

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

Southampton have suffered another blow in their bid to offload Mario Lemina before the transfer window slams shut on August 8, with Arsenal agreeing a deal to sign Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan.

What’s the word, then?

According to The Telegraph, the south coast outfit want to sell the former Juventus man this summer, and as well as being omitted from the 26-man squad that travelled to Austria, he has also been excluded from the rest of the first-team squad at the club’s Staplewood training ground.

According to The Daily Mail, Arsenal, Leicester City and Manchester United were three of the teams to be keen on the Gabon international, but the Manchester Evening News has already ruled out the latter being interested in the 25-year-old, who they say is rated at £30m.

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Now the former have almost certainly been ruled out as well following their expected capture of Ceballos, with respected BBC journalist David Ornstein reporting earlier in the summer that a box-to-box midfielder was a priority target – the Spaniard certainly fits the bill.

Setback for Southampton

With just over two weeks until the transfer window closes, Saints’ bid to sell some of their highest-earning non first-team players hasn’t exactly gone to plan.

The Telegraph reported last month that they were keen on exits for the likes of Fraser Forster, Wesley Hoedt, Cedric Soares, Sofiane Boufal and Guido Carrillo, but all of them still remain at St Mary’s.

Charlie Austin and Lemina are two more that can also go, but no agreement appears to be on the horizon for either as they continue to train alone.

It is hardly the ideal situation for Ralph Hasenhuttl, who is already having to deal with a bloated squad, with the struggle to offload players potentially hampering the club’s chances of strengthening at centre-back – one of their remaining transfer priorities.

Lemina’s price tag may well need to be lowered with United and Arsenal now seemingly out of the running for him.

Article title: Southampton suffer blow in bid to sell Mario Lemina as Arsenal close on Dani Ceballos

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