SOUTHAMPTON could end their search for a new midfielder by snatching Florentino Luis from under the noses of Fulham and AC Milan.
Fulham boss Scott Parker has had the 21-year-old defensive midfielder watched by scouts playing for Benfica, while Milan have also made their interest known.
But Saints have now entered the race for his services as they seek a long-term replacement for former captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg following his move to Tottenham.
Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has been concerned with the lack of authority in that area of the field his side have shown in the first fortnight of the season.
And that may force his hand to make a firm bid to offer Luis, regarded as one of the best young talents in his position in Europe, regular Premier League football.
Luis has made 21 appearances for Benfica and scored one goal since being promoted to the first-team.
The Portuguese ace, nicknamed “The Octopus”, previously attracted interest from Manchester United.
But Southampton could make their move for Luis following their shaky start to the season.
Hasenhuttl’s side suffered a disastrous 5-2 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday.
Spurs star Son Heung-min scored four times before Harry Kane bagged the fifth.
The Saints are without a win in the new campaign after a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace.
Southampton also looked at risk of losing Danny Ings this month as Tottenham indicated their interest.
But Hasenhuttl has confirmed the 28-year-old has “absolutely zero chance” of leaving.