With promotion in their sights and sitting atop the Championship the Southampton board have drawn up a list of proven top flight talent they hope to lure to St Marys next term. The Cutter understands that two short-lists have been compiled – both with the full co-operation of manager Nigel Adkins – with the first entirely dependent on promotion being attained. It is believed that this list is topped by two Tottenham fringe players who would welcome an opportunity to revive their fortunes in the Premier League in a team that plays open, attractive football and who could feasibly establish themselves as next year’s Norwich or Swansea.

In return the Saints would greatly benefit from having the two twinkling talents who are capable of unlocking the most stubborn of defences.

Niko Kranjčar has long grown frustrated at his lack of first team action at the Lane and it is felt that even the probable exit of Harry Redknapp – a manager who plainly doesn’t rate the Croatian highly – won’t be enough to keep him in North London next season.

Ex-Barcelona starlet Giovani dos Santos however may be a trickier procurement for the ambitious Saints as he is currently enjoying a successful loan spell at Racing Santander and ideally covets a permanent switch to Spain in the summer. Villarreal remain favourites for his signature.

The present form of the Mexican conjuror may price him beyond the south coast outfit’s means. Only months ago he was the subject of a firm £4m bid by Bolton that was rejected by Spurs but that valuation may now double with a bidding war slowly brewing.

Should Southampton fail to attract either player – and wages are of course also a significant hindrance to be overcome – their secondary targets are equally as intriguing.

Wilfried Zaha is a flying winger at Crystal Palace whose exhilarating bursts down the left flank has drawn a host of top level scouts to Selhurst Park while attacking midfielder Romain Amalfitano of Stade Reims in France was recently reported to be on the radar of Alan Pardew at Newcastle.

First though, before any such activity can even be contemplated, promotion must be secured and Adkins’ men take on Ipswich this evening hoping to extend their lead at the top against a West Ham side chasing them hard.