Southampton are hopeful they can sign free agent Martin Caceres. The Uruguayan has been without a club since the summer of last year after leaving Serie A giants, Juventus.
This news comes after coach Claude Puel admitted the club made failed attempts to sign a replacement for Jose Fonte in the January transfer window.
With stiff Premier League competition for the 29-year-old’s signature, it won't be easy for Saints’ hierarchy - currently linked with Sunderland, Crystal Palace and even league-leaders Chelsea.
Especially after AC Milan’s contract offer was turned down, given the fact that Southampton choose to not spend extortionate amounts on contracts as it is.
Desperate for defenders
No matter what way you look at it, Southampton’s defence is in desperate need of quality - even before the unfortunate injury to Virgil van Dijk, the gap left by former-captain Fonte was too great to be ignored.
Perhaps the hope for Les Reed and co. was to wait until the summer to sign a high-profile centre-back; these plans have clearly been pushed forward following the devastating 3-1 home loss to West Ham.
There's no doubt that Maya Yoshida has been phenomenal this season, however his role at the club should be no more than a second or third option.
Puel’s faith in Jack Stephens has been refreshing yet disturbing; on one hand you could say it's the job of a coach to use his academy but on the other side it becomes worrying when the second choice is that of an inexperienced newly-berthed player - with not much beyond him either.
Can Caceres make the cut?
Playing at such prestigious club and international levels as Caceres has done, you'd imagine his presence will be huge if signed; a place alongside Cedric Soares, Ryan Bertrand and Yoshida could seal another solid back four for the South coast side.
After all, defence has been the team’s stand out strength since the arrival of Mauricio Pochettino, who implemented fantastic defensive schemes. Recently that has been lost, and while the goals continue to not come up front, a return to clean sheets may be the only answer to Southampton's lack of form.
Not only that, there doesn't appear to be any character about the side right now, something that the towering van Dijk brought to every game.
This would be the first test of English football for Caceres and sometimes players who have spent their careers in Europe don't tend to start well – and vice versa.
What may be an issue is the injury record that follows this one-time Barcelona man. With injury prone players at the club already, is it time to take a risk and add another?