Southampton receive first transfer offer to kickstart exodus after relegation

Southampton flop Mislav Orsic looks set to become the first casualty of a mass summer exodus at St Mary’s after their relegation from the Premier League was finally confirmed on Saturday following a 2-0 home defeat to Fulham. The Croatian international winger, who caught the eye at the World Cup in Qatar last December, has played just six minutes of top-flight football since joining the club from Dinamo Zagreb for £8million in the January transfer window.

Now Dinamo have opened negotiations with the Saints over bringing Orsic back to Zagreb after proposing an initial loan move for the 30-year-old.

Southampton are understood to favour a permanent deal and would ideally like to recoup some of the £8m they shelled out to Dinamo less than four months ago for the player.

Talks are ongoing between the clubs and Orsic has already returned to his homeland in a bid to resolve his future alongside agent Branko Hucik.

Turkish side Trabzonspor are also interested in striking a deal and they are also understood to have sent a proposal to the player’s representatives.

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Orsic is believed to be keen on returning to Dinamo, where he scored 91 goals in 214 appearances during a four-and-a-half-year spell that saw him win four Prva HNL titles.

Just a matter of weeks after joining Southampton in February, eyebrows were raised when Orsic was named in the club’s B team side to face Sheffield United alongside fellow first-team stars Duje Caleta-Car, Moussa Djenepo and Armel Bella-Kotchap.

Jones, who was later sacked by the Saints, had brutally declared Orsic’s fitness levels were not up to scratch for the Premier League relegation battle.

Since then, he has been named on the bench just twice in the Premier League under Ruben Selles against West Ham and Arsenal and on both occasions, he was not used despite making four appearances in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.

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Outside of those two occasions, Selles has repeatedly overlooked Orsic and left him out of Southampton’s 18-man match day squad – meaning the writing is very much on the wall for the Croatian.

Prior to his arrival at St Mary’s, the forward had come close to joining West Brom and Burnley before the respective transfers collapsed.

He had put himself firmly in the shop window back in March 2021 when he dumped Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham side out of the Europa League with a stunning hat-trick for Dinamo.

Wholesale changes are expected at Southampton this summer when the likes of James Ward-Prowse, Kyle Walker-Peters and Romeo Lavia are all expected to leave the club.

Captain Ward-Prowse, who has previously snubbed Premier League interest to remain on the South Coast, refused to be drawn on his future after Southampton’s fate was confirmed over the weekend.

“I’m not thinking too far ahead. We’ve just been relegated from the Premier League. I’m not looking beyond tomorrow,” he told BBC Sport.

Sport Republic will also be tasked with appointing a new manager with Swansea City’s Russell Martin and Plymouth’s Steven Schumacher believed to be of admiration.

Selles does not seem likely to remain at St Mary’s but he is now attracting interest from other Championship clubs and Spain where he has previously coached Valencia U18s.

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