The Cutter understands that Southampton are keeping close tabs on Hull City’s Curtis Davies in the event they reluctantly lose their commanding centre-back Virgil van Dijk this January.

A plethora of clubs – that predictably includes Liverpool who appear to view the south coast outfit as their own personal feeder club of late – are reportedly weighing up serious bids for the in-form Dutchman in the next window though the Southampton board are expected to strongly rebuff all interest. The 25 year old is in high demand following a string of excellent displays at the back for Claude Puel’s side since moving from Celtic in 2015 for £13m yet with money not an issue it’s hard to imagine even a Premier League giant successfully luring him away mid-season.

Should that happen however the Saints will be well-prepared to make a sensational swoop of their own having drawn up a contingency plan in case the worst occurs. Davies tops the list  as Van Dijk’s replacement and we’ve been told he is the only British-based player on their radar in the next two windows to come regardless of position.

Both defenders can legitimately stake a claim as the most consistent centre-back this term outside of the top six and despite being tied down to a lengthy contract Davies would surely be tempted at the prospect of a switch due to the chaos that has surrounded the Tigers in recent months. Though he has a genuine affinity with Hull – and presumably feels he has an obligation as captain to stay and fight as an inevitable relegation battle looms – the playing staff remain exasperated and angry by the chronic mismanagement that has led to their current struggles. There is also the player’s international aspirations to factor in.

We’d put this chain of events at the unlikely end of the scale all things considered. For January at least.