Both Sunderland and Newcastle United have been linked with Atletico Madrid central defender Toby Alderweireld throughout the last week or so, but it's Southampton who appear to have jumped to the front of the queue for his signature.
Reports from Holland last night suggested the former Ajax star has decided to join up with Ronald Koeman at St. Mary's on a season-long loan deal, while Sky Sports further fuelled the fire this morning by claiming he has agreed to undergo talks with the Saints later today.
Having failed to nail down a regular spot with Atletico, the versatile Alderweireld has become surplus to requirements at the Vicente Calderon after only one full season with the Spanish champions. The highly-rated Belgian has since attracted strong interest from several Premier League sides, including Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Everton following four starts for his country in Brazil.
The World Cup star appeared likely to make his way to the north-east of England until Southampton firmed up their interest, thus leaving the Black Cats to concentrate on other targets. The 25-year-old would have been capable of covering both at centre-back and left-back had he signed, but another defender of a similar type must now be sought.