Southampton are currently leading the race for the signature of Eibar's skipper Dani Garcia according to the Mirror.

Garcia has turned down a tabled contract extension from his current side in pursuit of a fresh challenge outside La Liga, with his current contract expiring at the end of this campaign.

Eibar are said to be surprised at the 27-year-old's admission, as Garcia inspired the side to back-to-back promotions and is a central figure and fan favourite at the club.

SD Eibar v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

La Liga trio Malaga, Athletic Bilbao and Real Betis are also said to be interested in the acquisition of the midfield enforcer, however the player is seemingly set on making an illustrious move to the Premier League with Southampton in hot pursuit.

Saints' current boss Manuel Pellegrini has previous with the Spaniard, as his old side Deportivo Alaves went up against Eibar in two goalless games last term.

Southampton fans are somewhat bemused by the pursuit of the player, as their side currently have a whole host of options to choose from in Garcia's position. 

Oriol Romeu and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg occupy the defensive midfield, whilst James Ward-Prowse, Jake Hesketh and summer signing Mario Lemina compete to start as box-to-box midfielders.

Garcia - whose former clubs include Real Sociedad and Alicante - has been booked seven times in 13 league appearances this season, indicating that Southampton are looking to further bolster their screen in advance of the back four.

Meanwhile, Pellegrino has apologised to fans after their below-par performance against Leicester City in their 4-1 home thrashing on Wednesday, with the crowd booing the side in the first half.