TINO LIVRAMENTO looks set to miss Southampton’s Championship opener against Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow evening amid ongoing transfer interest from Newcastle United.

Newcastle officials have held a series of discussions over Livramento this summer, with the Saints defender still the Magpies’ number one defensive target for the final month of the window.

Southampton rejected an initial offer of around £20m last month, but talks have continued and the Newcastle hierarchy remain hopeful of striking a deal for the 20-year-old.

Having been relegated from the top-flight last season, Southampton begin life in the Championship with a trip to Hillsborough to face Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow night.

Saints boss Russell Martin has suggested that James Ward-Prowse and Romeo Lavia will both play in the season opener, despite strong interest from Fulham and West Ham in the former and a failed bid from Liverpool from the latter.

However, Martin offered no such assurances over Livramento in his pre-match press conference, and media outlets based in the south have suggested that the defender was not part of the squad that travelled north ahead of the game with the Owls.

If that turns out to be the case, and Livramento is not part of the Southampton squad in Sheffield, it will suggest discussions with Newcastle have progressed in the last few days.


The Magpies are adamant they will not be paying over the odds for Livramento, who missed almost all of last season because of an ACL injury, but the situation is complicated by the fact that Southampton will have to hand over a hefty proportion of any transfer fee to Chelsea as part of the deal that took the defender to St Mary’s from Stamford Bridge.

Ideally, Howe would like to have Livramento in place ahead of the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

Newcastle are set to release one of their right-back options, with Harrison Ashby having agreed the terms of a season-long loan deal at Swansea City.

Ashby moved to Tyneside from West Ham in January, but has had very few first-team opportunities in the last eight months. He scored Newcastle’s last-gasp winner in last month’s friendly victory at Rangers, but Howe feels he would benefit from a season of regular action in the Championship rather than spending more time on the fringe of the Magpies’ first-team squad.

Newcastle complete their pre-season programme this weekend when they compete in the Sela Cup at St James’ Park. Howe’s side will line up against Fiorentina on Saturday before taking on Villarreal on Sunday afternoon.