Middlesbrough may move for Gaston Ramirez after Southampton confirmed he was one of three players leaving the club.
The Uruguay international was a club-record £12million signing for Saints in 2012 but started just 28 matches in four years at St Mary’s.
Ramirez, who is one of three Saints players now out of contract, was frozen out by current boss Ronald Koeman and spent last term on loan with Hull City.
The 25-year-old was allowed to join Middlesbrough on loan this past season where his performances helped the ambitious Teesside club achieve promotion back to the top flight.
And Boro are understood to be keen on signing Ramirez permanently after he scored seven goals in 15 Championship starts.
Veteran goalkeeper Kelvin Davis is also out of contract but is in talks over a new role behind the scenes at the club.
The 39-year-old joined Saints when they were a League One club in 2006 and had a testimonial last week.
Executive director of football Les Reed said: “Kelvin has been instrumental in the club’s success in recent years, playing a key part in what has been a special time for everyone involved.
“He has set the perfect example since he arrived at the club 10 years ago.
“Kelvin’s tremendous passion and commitment to the club are two of the reasons why we are currently in conversations with him about a new role moving forward, in which he can continue to help the club’s progression.”
Young goalkeeper Will Britt has also left Saints after his contract expired.