SAINTS are hoping to complete a deal to sign Florin Gardos from Steaua Bucharest in time to prepare him to face Liverpool on Sunday.
The 25-year-old centre half is set to move to St Mary’s for a fee of about €7.5m (£5.9m).
His addition will come as a welcome boost to Ronald Koeman as he seeks to add to his backline following the summer departure of Dejan Lovren for £20m.
Koeman has also held talks with Morgan Schneiderlin after the French midfielder was given the weekend off as he continued to push for a move behind the scenes. Further talks are planned for this week.
Gardos will be assessed by Koeman and his staff if, as expected, his deal goes through today, they hope to field him at Anfield alongside Jose Fonte.
The Romanian has plenty of experience in his home country but this will be his first move abroad as a professional.
Gardos has enjoyed success with Steaua, winning the Romanian top flight two seasons in a row, the Romanian Cup in 2011 and the Romanian Supercup in 2013.
He started his career at Concordia Chianja in Romania but his talents were recognised by Steaua Bucharest, who paid €150,000 for him in 2010.
Since then he has gone on to play 81 times for the club, scoring three goals.
Gardos had the option to play for Hungary but chose to represent Romania, and has played for them at youth level and full international where he has so far won 12 caps.
Koeman was asked about Saints’ interest in Gardos last week and replied: “We are interested in the player but until now they haven’t told me that it’s signed or it’s OK.
“I don’t know, but we are interested, that is true.”
Saints have also retained an interest in Sporting Lisbon centre half Marcos Rojo.