Southampton target Gaston Ramirez has been axed by Bologna.

The transfer battle has taken a new twist with news Ramirez is not in the squad for Sunday's Serie A opener against Chievo.

"His head isn't in the game," explained coach Stefano Pioli. "Ramirez does not have the necessary state of mind to play right now.

"This week we worked well and are ready to get on the bus to Verona with the right attitude. I saw great spirit, unity and hunger to impress.

"We are ready to start our season in the best possible way, but that means forgetting everything that happened last term, as tomorrow we start from scratch.

"We may not be at 100 per cent yet, but I am sure that with hard work we will become a tough team to face."