Southampton are locked in talks with Schalke over a deal for £20m-rated midfielder Weston McKennie, according to reports.
The south coast club have already brought in Mohammed Salisu and Kyle Walker-Peters on permanent deals this summer – and Ralph Hasenhuttl is also keen to add to his midfield options ahead of the new campaign.
But Sky in Germany have suggested that the deal for McKennie may have to be placed on hold for now with Southampton wanting to offload some unwanted players first.
McKennie is believed to have rejected a switch to Hertha Berlin due to his desire to want to take up a new challenge in the Premier League.
The same report has also indicated that personal terms are yet to be agreed, however, despite McKennie’s wish to head to England.
The highly-rated 21-year-old made 28 Bundesliga appearances last season, scoring three goals, but has set his sights on the exit door after Schalke limped to a 12th-placed finish.
Hertha were said to have been in advanced talks with the club over McKennie, but the player himself has made no secret of the fact that his ambition is to play in the English top flight.
He told DAZN earlier this year: ‘For me, the next goal is England. It has always been my dream to play in the Premier League.
‘I want to join a club that fights for a place in Europe – the Champions League or the Europa League. For now, I’m happy at Schalke because I get to play.’
McKennie is likely to have been earmarked as a replacement for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
The former Southampton captain left the club last week to join Tottenham, having made 134 appearances and scored five goals for the St Mary’s outfit.
He had been stripped of the armband after expressing his desire to leave – and moved to North London for a fee of around £20m.
The same report from Sky Germany reveals that Guido Carillo, Wesley Hoedt and Mario Lemina, all of whom spent last season out on loan, are likely to become part of the Southampton culling this summer.