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The south coast outfit are ready to give up on Marcos Rojo, valued at €38m by Sporting, and instead turn their attention to the Lazio man as Ronald Koeman eyes defensive cover

EXCLUSIVE
By William Joyce

Southampton are considering a move for Lazio's Senad Lulic after being rebuffed in their attempts to land Marcos Rojo.

Saints boss Ronald Koeman remains keen to bolster his squad, particularly the back-line, after losing Dejan Lovren, Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw this summer, with Sporting defender Rojo having been top of his wishlist.

The Argentina international, who starred at the World Cup, was made a priority signing by the south coast outfit, despite the player being unsure on a move, and Southampton executive director Les Reed was in Portugal last week to hold talks with Sporting.

But the Portuguese giants are holding out for €38 million for Rojo – far in excess of the €21m the Saints are prepared to pay – and Southampton are now ready to move onto other targets.

Bosnia international Lulic has now emerged as an alternative to Rojo, with Koeman looking to add further cover and competition for left-backs Ryan Bertrand and Matt Targett.

The Lazio man, who can play at left-back and on the flanks, has attracted interest from the likes of Juventus and AC Milan this summer, though neither club was able to reach an agreement and the 28-year-old has instead taken a full part in the Rome club’s pre-season, featuring in their recent friendly against Hamburg.

Unlike Rojo, a move to the Premier League and Southampton would appeal to Lulic, who has been a regular for Lazio since joining from Young Boys in 2011.

Southampton have been busy this summer after losing a host of first-team players, signing Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic, Saphir Taider, Fraser Forster and Bertrand.

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