Southampton set sights on Preston’s Joe Savage for sporting director role

Preston’s head of recruitment Joe Savage is on Southampton’s radar as they search for a new sporting director.

Hearts are also taking an interest after Savage’s impressive work at Deepdale, the PA news agency understands.

North End have one of the smallest budgets in the Sky Bet Championship but are second in the table, two points behind leaders West Brom.

Savage joined Preston in 2017, following boss Alex Neil to Deepdale after the pair worked together at Norwich and Hamilton.

He was chief scout at Carrow Road for two years having been director of recruitment and analysis at Hamilton.

Boss Neil has also been in demand with Preston rejecting Stoke’s request to speak to the Scot at the weekend.

They reported the Potters to the EFL for an illegal approach before withdrawing the complaint.

Southampton are looking for a new sporting director to replace Ross Wilson after he moved to Rangers last month.

The 36-year-old helped bring boss Ralph Hasenhuttl to St Mary’s last December following the departure of Mark Hughes.

The Saints are 18th in the Premier League having suffered a record 9-0 defeat to Leicester two weeks ago.

Managerless Hearts, who sacked Craig Levein last week, are looking to create a sole post for a sporting director.

Owner Ann Budge is reorganising the structure of the club, who sit second bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership, with Levein having also acted as director of football.