Out of contract center back Martin Caceres is reportedly on his way to Southampton to have a medical.
[ MORE: What’s wrong with Leicester? ]
Caceres, 29, last played for Juventus in Serie A during the 2015-16 campaign but after suffering plenty of injury issues over the years he has been without a club since the summer.
He trained with Crystal Palace last week but after they signed Mamadou Sakho they passed on him, while a move to AC Milan has also fallen through.
With the transfer window shut but Caceres available to sign for whoever due to being out of contract, Premier League duo Southampton and Sunderland have now both been linked with a move for the defender who can play as a center back and at either full back positions.
The former Barcelona, Sevilla and Juventus defender has plenty of pedigree at the top level, winning five Serie A titles with Juve and a La Liga and UEFA Champions League double with Barca in 2009 as well as representing Uruguay at both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
When it comes to Caceres’ next possible destination, Saints appear to have moved to the front of the queue which makes sense given their desperate need for a new center back. They sold Jose Fonte to West Ham United in the January window and then lost influential defender Virgil Van Dijk for up to three months with an ankle injury.
Japanese international Maya Yoshida has looked steady after stepping in and becoming a starter, but youngster Jack Stephens has been up and down in recent games and Romanian international Florin Gardos has spent over 18 months on the sidelines and is very rusty despite recently returning to full fitness.
That means Saints have just three center backs to choose from heading into their EFL Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley on Feb. 26, plus they aren’t exactly clear of being sucked into the Premier League relegation battle either.
Following their 3-1 defeat to West Ham United on Saturday, their fifth defeat in their last six PL games, Southampton are just seven points above the drop zone.
Puel needs to plug the gaps in defense which have seen them transition from a solid unit who are tough to break down to a side which has conceded 10 goals in their last three games in all competitions.
Caceres may well be the short-term answer. Surely he’s worth a punt on a six-month contract?