Hull City close in on Premier League centre-back

Hull City look set to make Southampton centre-back Alfie Jones their sixth new signing of the summer, on a permanent deal.

SIGNING: Grant McCann is closing in on a Premier League centre-back, believed to be Alfie Jones

Grant McCann was refusing to name names in his Press conference to preview Saturday's opening game of the season, at Sunderland in the League Cup, but the clues point to the 22-year-old following Josh Emmanuel, Lewie Coyle, Richie Smallwood, Greg Docherty and Festus Arthur in moving to the KCOM Stadium. Mallik Wilks's loan from Barnsley has been made permanent.

“I can't give you a name because it hasn't gone through yet but we're hopeful it goes through today and he will give us good strength in depth,” said McCann on Thursday afternoon.

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“It will be a permanent deal. He's coming from a Premier League club, he's had two very good loans already, one in Scotland and one in England out of Southampton. He brings good wealth of experience of two different leagues as well.

“It'll be a good coup for us because there were a few clubs after him.

“The medical's done, it's just about both clubs coming together.”

Jones is yet to make his senior debut for the Saints, but has had loan spells at St Mirren in the first half of 2018-19, and Gillingham last term. He played 35 times for the Gills, scoring twice.

He will effectively replace Ryan Tafazolli, who was allowed to join Wycombe Wanderers on a free transfer on Wednesday as McCann looks to rebalance his central defenders.

“We just feel as if we've got Jordy (de Wijs), Jacob Greaves, Sean McLoughlin, we're well stocked in that area. Taff didn't play as many games as he wanted to last year because of the form of Jordy, particularly in the first half of the season.

“We just thought it was the right call for us, really. We wanted to make sure Taff didn't lose out on his gametime again. It was a good option for him and we feel as if we've two very good young ones (Greaves and McLoughlin) underneath De Wijs.

“We're really pleased in where we are. We had a bit of an imbalance in terms of centre-backs with four left-sided centre-backs and two right-sided centre-backs. We're in the process of hopefully adding a right-sided centre-back today, so hopefully that goes through at some point, then I'm pleased. I'll have three right-sided ones and three left-sided ones and every single one of them's chomping at the bit for a starting place.”

Greaves and McLoughlin will be in the squad which travels to the Stadium of Light but Callum Elder misses out through injury, whilst Leonardo Da Silva Lopes's pre-season has been disrupted by illness. Josh Magennis and James Scott are on international duty. Coyle is suspended.

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