Mohamed Elyounoussi could be a Southampton player by the end of the week.
[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]
Pro Soccer Talk understands the Premier League club are hopeful of wrapping up the deal for the FC Basel attacker in the next few days, with the Norwegian international thought to be in contract talks after a transfer fee was agreed.
Multiple outlets are reporting a fee of $21 million has been agreed between the two clubs, with Elyounoussi, 23, seen as a direct replacement for Dusan Tadic who completed his move to Dutch giants Ajax on Wednesday.
That fee would make Elyounoussi the second most expensive signing in Southampton’s history after the $25 million they paid for Guido Carrillo in January.
The attacking midfielder has been a star for Basel over the past two seasons, scoring 24 goals in 84 appearances in all competitions and he scored 14 times last season, which included a goal in a UEFA Champions League last 16 win at Manchester City.
Elyounoussi is able to play in a variety of roles across the front line and he is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League despite German side Wolfsburg also making a bid for him. The Moroccan born attacker can drift inside off the left flank and with central attacking midfielder Stuart Armstrong signing for Southampton from Celtic on Tuesday, Mark Hughes is getting the attacking help he wanted to add over the summer after taking the job on a permanent basis.
Saints have been shrewd in the transfer market in recent times after picking up the likes of Victor Wanyama, Sadio Mane, Tadic and Virgil Van Dijk for relatively small fees and then selling all of them on for a tidy profit.
In recent times that model of recruitment has taken a bit of a hit but Elyounoussi’s potential means he could well be their main attacking threat next season and beyond.
With starting goalkeeper Alex McCarthy also signing a new four-year contract on Wednesday following his fine displays at the end of last season, it appears Southampton aren’t messing around this summer as they aim to make sure they aren’t involved in another relegation battle like they one they narrowly escaped in 2017/18.