Southampton accept they face an uphill battle to prevent Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg joining the likes of Tottenham and Everton this summer.
The two Premier League big hitters have made the 24-year-old their top central midfield target this summer in a market set to be transformed by the effects of the pandemic.
A Southampton source has told Football Insider that the club are likely to sell Hojbjerg if he does not extend his contract, which appears unlikely.
The Denmark international has knocked back multiple Saints attempts to extend his deal expiring next year and gone public with his desire to join a more ambitious club.
The next window, which may not now open until August, represents Southampton’s last chance of securing a major fee for Hojbjerg.
They had valued him at around the £25million mark in January but that may now appear fanciful.
Spurs are likely to concentrate on cheaper deals in the next window, include free transfers and loans.
One possibility is they could offer some senior players in part-exchange for Hojbjerg to seal a deal.
Intriguingly, as revealed by Football Insider last week, Southampton have identified Olivier Ntcham of Celtic as a potential replacement for Hojbjerg.
The two clubs have a history of negotiating transfers and the kind of relationship that makes it a feasible deal, especially with strong Hoops interest in re-signing Fraser Forster.
Hojbjerg played a pivotal role in Southampton’s revival before the lockdown and boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has made it publicly and privately clear he wants to keep him.
The defensive midfielder has started 27 of Southampton’s 29 Premier League matches this season among 33 appearances in all competitions.
In other Tottenham news, it can be revealed how far the club are willing to stretch to sign Philippe Coutinho.