Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has signed a new three-year deal with the club and this will see Fraser Forster leave St Mary’s next summer.
According to reports from the Athletic’s Dan Sheldon and Hampshire Live’s Tom Leach, Ralph Hasenhuttl has made his choice about who his number 1 is for this season and the club will target a young Forster replacement to challenge McCarthy for 2022/23.
Hasenhuttl regularly switched his two main goalkeepers last season in a bid to give both players a chance to impress and prove their worth for the future.
Now McCarthy looks to have won that battle with his new commitment and forced Forster out the door in the process. Forster will leave on a free transfer given his contract expires in June 2022.
A changing of the guard, but Southampton can continue to build for the future
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There is no doubt that Saints need to sort their goalkeeper situation and, ideally, they would probably have liked to sort it this summer had signings in many other positions not taken priority.
The fact that watching fans feel there is not a lot between McCarthy and Forster in terms of their consistency and individual performances speaks volumes – the club need a top young talent who can grow into a world beater with them, and this blueprint is exactly what they have used this summer with their seven signings (eight once Lyanco is confirmed) so far.
Perhaps the plan is for McCarthy to take a back-seat role as the number 2 when the younger alternative is signed, although it may take a season or two for a new goalkeeper to be totally ready.
Under Ralph Hasenhuttl’s stewardship and the coaching of goalkeeper coach Andrew Sparkes, McCarthy and Forster both showed improvements during the last campaign. Most notable was their ability to help build attacks from the back – something that neither were particularly good at before.
To date Forster has played 138 times for Saints and kept 51 clean sheets since his 2014 arrival. McCarthy was signed in 2016 as Saints entered the Europa League and has kept 29 clean sheets in 114 matches so far.