Veteran Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has reportedly emerged as a surprise January transfer target for fellow Premier League outfit Southampton.

As per reports from the Mirror, Chelsea centre-back Gary Cahill, who is out of contract at the end of the season, is being chased by Premier League outfit Southampton.

The 32-year old defender joined the West London outfit from Bolton Wanderers for £7 million in January 2012 and has gone on to make 285 appearances across all competitions, winning six major trophies with the club, including two Premier League titles and a UEFA Champions League triumph as well.

However, Cahill finds himself on the fringes of the first-team at Stamford Bridge, under new manager Maurizio Sarri. The Italian tactician has preferred to use Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz in the heart of the defence, with Andreas Christensen as backup.

This has relegated the former England international to just three appearances so far in the 2018-19 campaign, only one of which has come in the Premier League. Moreover, it is believed that the manager is keen on bringing in another central defender in the winter window, with AC Milan duo Alessio Romagnoli and Mattia Caldara tipped as potential targets.

These developments have left Cahill seriously considering an exit from Chelsea in January  itself, rather than waiting till the end of the season for his contract to run out. There had been recent reports of interest from Chelsea’s arch rivals Manchester United, but with Jose Mourinho’s future at the club hanging by a thread, there are little chances of a move materializing.

Time to bid adieu? (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Time to bid adieu? (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Southampton are on the lookout for defensive reinforcements after their disappointing start to the ongoing campaign. The Saints have managed just one win in seven Premier League games so far, in which they have let in eleven goals and have managed to keep just two clean sheets.

Having seen his team concede late goals in their defeat to Leicester City and the draw against Brighton & Hove Albion and in the Carabao Cup game against Everton earlier this week, Southampton manager Mark Hughes is believed to be intent on adding an experienced campaigner to his ranks.

Cahill may have found game time hard to come by at Stamford Bridge this season, but he still has plenty left to offer in his tanks. The 32-year old’s experience, defensive nous and leadership abilities will be a huge asset for Southampton should they be able to sign him in the winter.

It also provides Chelsea a chance to recoup some transfer fee for a player who is clearly not in the manager’s plans, instead of losing him for nothing at the end of the term. All in all, a win-win situation for all parties involved should the transfer go through in January.

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