Southampton have set their sights on giant Millwall defender Jake Cooper ahead of the summer, Football Insider understands.

Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl is in the market for defensive reinforcements after being left frustrated by how many goals his side have conceded this season.

A Southampton source has told Football Insider that the club are keep close tabs on Cooper, 25, as they assess centre-back options.

The The 6ft 4in colossus has been capped by England at Under-20 level and is also attracting interest from Aston Villa, as revealed by Football Insider.

Cooper has previously been a target for Scottish giants Rangers – they bid £3million for him in 2018 – and his consistent form has impressed a number of clubs.

Millwall do not want to lose Cooper, but they are bracing themselves for offers when the main summer window opens.

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Southampton have conceded 51 goals from their 28 Premier League matches this season.

Only Aston Villa – who have let in 52 – have a worst record in terms of goals let in than Hasenhuttl’s side, while bottom club Norwich City have also conceded 51.

 

Cooper has earned a reputation as one of the best defenders in the Championship since joining Millwall from Reading in the summer of 2017.

The strapping centre-back has been an ever-present in the Championship this season -playing every minute of the Londoners’ 36 matches – and his effectiveness in both boxes makes him an attractive proposition to suitors.

In other Southampton news, it can be REVEALED that the club are planning talks to sign £15million-valued ace from Premier League giants.