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Southampton preparing for Champions League with new strike target

| 09.02.2015

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman appears to already have one eye on the Champions League if his latest transfer target is anything to go by.

The Dutchman’s Saints side remain in the top three after victory over QPR at the weekend and are now just 13/8 to secure a top four finish.

With Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal all dropping points Koeman can start to believe that Europe’s top competition is a real possibility and as such Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac is now said to be on his radar.

West Ham and Everton are also said to keen on the 29-year-old Frenchman, who has attracted the attention of Newcastle and Arsenal in the past, but the prospect of remaining in European action – be that Champions League or Europa League – makes St Mary’s a more likely destination.

Gignac has scored 14 goals from 24 games in all competitions so far this term to put Marseille in title contention but the former Toulouse man is out of contract in the summer and reportedly refusing to listen to offers from L’OM to remain at the Stade Velodrome.

With last season’s top scorer Jay Rodriguez potentially set to leave the south coast this summer, Koeman is looking to bolster his attacking options and the possibility of signing Gignac on a free – albeit on high wages – could prove too good to turn down.

The striker has hit double figures in four of his five season at the Stade Velodrome and boasts experience of playing in European competition and his arrival at St Mary’s would surely be welcomed by the Saints faithful.

Next up for Koeman’s men is a home tie against a West Ham side unlucky not to have beaten Manchester United last time out.

This is unlikely to faze a Saints team that put United to the sword recently, however, and the hosts go into the tie as 3/4 favourites.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.