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Caceres could make Southampton bow in EFL Cup Final

Caceres could play in the EFL final

Martin Caceres could be set for a dream Southampton debut in the EFL Cup final against Manchester United.

The 29-year-old defender was signed as a free agent two weeks ago, having been without a club since leaving Italian champions Juventus at the end of last season.

Saints manager Claude Puel moved for Caceres after losing Virgil van Dijk to a long-term ankle injury and captain Jose Fonte, who moved to West Ham last month.

There were concerns over the Uruguay international's fitness, given that he has not played since last February after undergoing surgery on a torn Achilles tendon.

But Puel monitored Caceres on Southampton's recent training camp in Spain and is now considering including him in the squad at Wembley on Sunday.

"I was surprised by his good physical fitness, because he can come on the training camp with a good level, good quality," said Puel.

"He worked hard on his fitness during his injury, and I don't know if he can participate at the beginning of this game but he can give good opportunities and solutions."

Southampton sign Martin Caceres on short-term deal

The former Juventus man has joined until the end of the season. Credit: PA

Southampton have bolstered their defence with the signing of former Juventus centre-back Martin Caceres until the end of the season.

The Uruguay international has been without a club since leaving Italian champions Juve at the end of last term and joins a Saints side who were lacking cover at the back.

Virgil van Dijk's long-term ankle injury compounded the January exit of captain Jose Fonte but the signing of Caceres provides some much-needed experience for boss Claude Puel.

The 29-year-old reportedly turned down interest from AC Milan and Crystal Palace and insists a move to the English south coast was the right choice.

Speaking to the club's official website, Caceres said: "I am very happy to have signed for what is an important club in English football. I am looking forward to getting started with my new team-mates.

"Of all of the options that I had, I think that the best option for me was to come to Southampton. I am extremely happy to have joined this club."

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Josh Sims signs new deal with Southampton

Josh Sims has signed a new contract at Southampton which ties the academy graduate to St Mary's until 2020.

Sims has committed his future to Southampton until 2020. Credit: PA

The 19-year-old has played eight times for Claude Puel's side this season after breaking into the first-team set-up on the south coast.

Sims, who has also represented England at Under-18 level, made an instant impact as he set up Charlie Austin to score the only goal of the game in a victory over Everton in November.

He has also featured for the Saints in the Europa League and now wants to continue his progress having penned a fresh three-and-a-half year deal.

Sims told the club's official website:

I'm absolutely delighted to signed a new contract with the club,"I'm really happy that the club have put faith in me to offer me a new contract.

I can't really put into words how good it has been recently, but I just need to push on now and continue my progress.

I can't see why you wouldn't want to sign here. This is definitely the club for me to help me progress and aspire to be like some of the other Academy graduates to have come through.

– Southampton winger Josh Sims

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Liverpool reject Southampton loan bid for Sakho

Sakho will only leave Liverpool on a permanent deal. Credit: PA

Liverpool have rejected a loan bid from Southampton for out-of-favour defender Mamadou Sakho. Reports say the Saints' offer was instantly dismissed as the Reds will only consider permanently offloading the France international.

The centre-back is no longer considered part of the first-team squad after being sent home from the club's pre-season training camp in California as manager Jurgen Klopp was unhappy with his attitude.

Sakho trained with and played for the club's under-23 side for the first half of the season but since the transfer window opened he has not featured as the club want to minimise the chances of him getting injured and jeopardising a move.

The player rejected loan switches to West Brom and Stoke in August despite being told he needed to leave to re-establish his reputation, and in the intervening period the club's stance has shifted to the point where they now want him off the books.

However, they will only consider a permanent deal in the region of £20million for the 26-year-old.

Southampton are looking to strengthen in central defence after captain Jose Fonte handed in a transfer request earlier this month.

Sevilla, Swansea and Crystal Palace were also believed to be looking at the player but none have followed up their initial interest.

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