Despite speculation linking the Sporting Lisbon left-back to the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea, Saints have stolen a march on their Premier League rivals for the 24-year-oldEXCLUSIVE
By William Joyce
Southampton are stepping up their interest in Argentina star Marcos Rojo as Ronald Koeman looks to bolster his defence, Goal has learned.
The Sporting Lisbon left-back impressed in Argentina's run to the World Cup final, performing well in a defence that only conceded four goals all tournament.
Rojo is primarily a full-back but can also operate in central defence and it is understood he will cost Saints in the region of £12 million.
Koeman is keen on the 24-year-old following Luke Shaw's £30m move to Manchester United, while Dejan Lovren's expected departure to Liverpool edges ever closer.
Rojo has spent two years at Sporting, after moving to the Portuguese club in 2012 from Spartak Moscow and has two years remaining on his current contract.
He has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League this summer, with Liverpool and Chelsea keen on his services but Goal understands Saints have moved to the head of the queue.