West Ham and Newcastle interested in signing Southampton’s Mario Lemina

West Ham and Newcastle interested in signing Southampton’s Mario Lemina

West Ham and Newcastle are interested in signing Mario Lemina from Southampton, with the Gabon international understood to be available for £7m.

The 27-year-old has made 17 Premier League starts so far this season during his loan spell with Fulham, who have an option to make his transfer permanent in the summer. But with Scott Parker’s side seven points adrift of a safe position and just five matches remaining, they face a struggle to remain in the Premier League.

Lemina’s impressive performances at Craven Cottage have alerted West Ham and Newcastle, with initial contact over a potential transfer having been made with his entourage. Having spent last season on loan at Galatasaray in Turkey, Lemina has not played for Southampton since May 2019 but still has two years remaining on his contract after being signed from Juventus in 2017 for a then club record fee of £15.4m.

It is understood that he is not part of Ralph Hasenhüttl’s plans for next season and will be allowed to leave for around £7m. Danny Ings is set to miss Friday evening’s game at home to Leicester due to a hamstring injury, with the Southampton manager unsure when the England striker will return.

“It is not that [much] worse than it looked at first but it’s also that serious that he misses now a few games, I don’t know if he comes back for the last games,” Hasenhüttl said. “We have Liverpool and then five games in two weeks so we need every player.”

Meanwhile, Ademola Lookman – who is on loan at Fulham from RB Leipzig – is a target for Leicester but could be given an opportunity in Germany under new manager Jesse Marsch.

Parker, whose side face Chelsea on Saturday looking for a first win at Stamford Bridge since 1979, said he will not give up hope of avoiding relegation just yet.

“The reason I believe is because it’s so close, as in the games are so close,” he said. “I know that [the last-minute defeats are] going to have an effect, I’m not going to lie to you, that has an effect, it’s going to have an effect on the players. I get that in another game’s time or two games, because we can no longer say there’s a lot of games left, of course that’s not the case, but certainly can we go to Chelsea, like we went to Arsenal and Everton and get a result or be in this game and try and get something? I believe we can, and if we do, like West Brom did, is our picture changed? Yes.

“It’s my job to keep banging that drum and however I try and get that mindset to change in a player – certainly [if] my players [do think it’s over] I need to try and change that mindset if that is the case, and I don’t believe it is.”

inxiorg