Premier League clubs are on red alert after Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted Danny Ings could leave Southampton this summer.
Ings has been a revelation for Saints over the last three seasons, scoring 40 goals in 81 games for the club.
The striker is out of contract in the summer of 2022 and Southampton are working hard to tie him down to an extension.
However, the club are struggling to meet the 28-year-old’s wage demands, and Hasenhuttl admits they may be forced to cash in this summer.
“We are in a situation where every club is struggling with finances,” he said.
“We as a club must be strong to keep our limits at what we have financially. We are not gambling or playing a game here.
"We are trying to keep the club in a healthy way and it is not only about Ingsy, there are others who also want to extend their contract.
“If it is not what we expect to pay in the future, then we have to look for somebody else who is cheaper, but we know it always should be win-win for both.
"If they want to make the next step in the summer to a bigger club and there is an offer fitting to the player, then we can always negotiate.
"We know we are not the end of the ranking or the top of the ranking, but in the end, we have a good core who are committed. Every player is invited to do it within our limits.
“I think Danny shows us that he wants to be with the club, we know that he is an important player for us.
"I hope that we find an agreement and finally he stays with us. "If not, life will go on and this club will also exist and hopefully we can find a way that we can both live with.”
Southampton face Shrewsbury in the third round of the FA Cup on Tuesday.
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