SOUTHAMPTON are closing in on long-term target Che Adams.
The South-Coast club are ready to offer around £14million for the Birmingham striker, for whom they had a bid rejected in January.
SunSport understands Blues are holding out for a figure closer to £16m.
Adams, 22, had a stunning season at St Andrew’s where he hit 22 goals and was nominated for Championship Player of the Year.
He has been drawing interest from Crystal Palace and Burnley too but Saints are confident of winning the race to sign the former Sheffield United starlet.
Southampton chief Ralph Hasenhuttl has already added rapid Mali winger Moussa Djenepo to his ranks this summer as he looks to bring pace and power to execute his all-action, pressing game.
Adams could be set to follow Garry Monk out the St Andrew’s exit door.
Monk, 40, was sacked after steering the Blues to seventeenth in the Championship last term after a nine-point deduction.
His assistant Pep Clotet will take over as interim boss.
A club statement read: “Birmingham City has today parted company with manager Garry Monk.
“The Board of Directors believe this to be in the long term interests of the Club.
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“We thank Garry for his efforts and we wish him the best for the future.
“Pep Clotet has been appointed caretaker Head Coach and the remainder of the coaching and backroom staff – including Sean Rush, Darryl Flahavan, Ryan Needs and James Beattie – stay in place.
“Pep takes charge of team affairs with immediate effect.”