Last Updated: Mon, 28 Jan 2013 10:52
Southampton have been linked with Lazio's Mauro Zarate and Hoffenheim's Roberto Firmino as alternatives to Philipe Coutinho.
The Saints were looking to mark the appointment of new boss Mauricio Pochettino with the ambitious signing of Inter Milan midfielder Coutinho ahead of Thursday evening's transfer deadline.
But, despite leading the way with a £10.2million bid, the player has been granted his wish to be allowed to join Premier League rivals Liverpool.
It has left the club with just a few days to try and bring in an alternative player and reports suggest that Pochettino has narrowed down his target list to just two.
Zarate, who spent time in the Premier League on loan with Birmingham in 2008, has barely featured for Italian Serie A outfit Lazio this season and the club are looking to offload him.
The main problem for Southampton is the 25-year-old's agent recently spoke out to reveal that he has no desire to leave the Rome-based outfit.
He said: "We are ready to continue together with the club. Mauro has another year and a half contract with Lazio and we want to stay, unless we find a good solution."
Meanwhile, Brazilian Firmino is valued at around £7million by German Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim given that he has become a regular in their first team since joining the club in 2010.
The 21-year-old has made 19 appearances this season, scoring three goals and providing two assists, so Hoffenheim will no doubt do all they can to ensure he stays put this month.
Have you an opinion on this story? Put your money where your mouth is and claim a free £25 bet.