Manchester United Transfer News: Club turn to Saints midfielder Mario Lemina but yet to meet valuation
What's the story?
Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina was not part of the Saints' pre-season squad that traveled to Austria, amid reports that Manchester United have expressed an interest in the Gabon international.
In case you didn't know...
Lemina arrived at St Mary's Stadium from Juventus back in 2017 for a club record fee of £15.4 million. The talented youngster couldn't crack into the first team in Turin, and a move to England was seen as the perfect choice to revive his career.
However, Lemina has struggled with injury issues during his time in the Premier League - he made only 18 starts last season.
The 25-year-old, along with striker Charlie Austin, was omitted by Ralph Hasenhüttl from Southampton's pre-season squad, fueling rumours that he's set to leave the club this summer.
Journalist Simon Peach tweeted that United, Arsenal, and Leicester are all interested in signing him, but none of the clubs have met the Saints' valuation of the player.
Lemina himself recently expressed a desire to move on from Southampton, stating:
I still have another three years of contract, but it is true that I do not rule out the possibility of seeing something else. The last four months have not been easy for me, with my injury.
The heart of the matter
It's no secret that Manchester United are desperate to bring in midfield reinforcements this summer, having lost Ander Herrera to PSG, and with Paul Pogba's future uncertain.
Bruno Fernandes and Sean Longstaff have been extensively linked, although Newcastle's £50 million valuation of the latter could scupper a move.
Lemina is a box-to-box midfielder who is versatile and technically strong. On paper, he could be a decent cut-price replacement for Herrera, but it remains to be seen if he can fill the Spaniard's shoes.
United fans shouldn't get too excited about him yet, with several other clubs still in the chase.
With Southampton only looking to recoup the £15 million they initially invested, Lemina will prove to be considerably cheaper than both Fernandes and Longstaff.
However, United are unlikely to rush into the deal, and will probably hold off on making a decision until the future of 24-year-old Fernandes is settled.