Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are very much looking forward to the remainder of the summer transfer window following the news that Mark Hughes has penned a long-term deal to remain as the club’s manager.
The former Stoke City chief was appointed as Mauricio Pellegrino’s successor back in March with the Saints very much in relegation danger, and facing the prospect of seeing their six-year stay in the Premier League come to an end. However, the 54-year-old did a fine job in leading the South Coast outfit away from the bottom three in the final week of the campaign, with a 1-0 success at Swansea City completely turning the tables in seeing Southampton stay up, and the Swans go down.
As such, with the ex-Wales boss appointed the club’s long-term manager recently, attentions can begin turning towards the transfer window, with recent reports linking goalkeeper Alex McCarthy with a move to fellow top-flight side Tottenham this summer.
And were the South Coast club to indeed cash in on the £2.25 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) during the close season, another relegation battle would beckon for Hughes’ side next term.
Ultimately, the 28-year-old shot-stopper played an integral part in helping keep the Saints in the top-flight this season, with McCarthy chosen ahead of number one goalkeeper Fraser Forster back in December given the latter’s poor run of form, and then failing to relinquish the gloves following a string of impressive displays.
In fact, the Englishman produced a number of key saves at pivotal times during 2018, not least in helping them draw 0-0 with Stoke City back in March, and indeed in that 1-0 success over Swansea earlier this month.
Add in a fine display in victory over Bournemouth, and it’s clear that McCarthy played as big a part as any in keeping Hughes’ side in the top-flight, which is why taking him out of the side by sanctioning his departure would spell trouble for the Saints.
Forster really struggled in the first half of the campaign in making numerous mistakes in the Southampton goal, and it remains to be seen how he will react from his exclusion from the first team were he to reclaim the gloves next term – ultimately, the England international hasn’t proven to be reliable enough in recent times to do the job required.
And with the Saints cutting it very fine indeed in terms of staying in the division, they have to be careful next time round – it’s just as important that they keep their prized assets as it is bringing in new players.
And given his efforts between the sticks in the second half of the season, McCarthy is certainly a prized asset, and one that the Saints would miss dearly were they to sell him to Tottenham.
In fact, sanctioning his exit this summer would bring about another relegation battle for the South Coast outfit next season.
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