Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are relishing the remainder of the summer transfer window following the news that Mark Hughes has extended his deal to remain as the club’s manager heading into the 2018/19 season.
The 54-year-old was drafted in by the Saints hierarchy back in March following the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino, with the South Coast languishing in the bottom three of the Premier League and facing the prospect of their six-year stint in the top tier coming to an end. Yet the former Stoke City and Wales chief masterminded their survival with key victories over Bournemouth and Swansea City, with their success over the latter in the penultimate game of the season securing their top-flight status, at the same time relegating the Swans.
And with Hughes’ future now sorted, our resident Southampton fans can start looking ahead to what business their side may conduct, although they are unlikely to be too pleased with recent reports linking goalkeeper Alex McCarthy with a move to Tottenham.
The 28-year-old enjoyed a fine second half of the season between the sticks at St Mary’s, and as such the Saints must forget about selling McCarthy this summer as there is only one Englishman they should get rid of, namely fellow shot-stopper Fraser Forster.
Ultimately, the England international endured a testing time at the club in the first half of the season, to the point that he was dropped by former boss Pellegrino for their trip to Manchester United back in December.
And that’s because the 30-year-old has prior to that clash at the rear end of 2017 made too many mistakes in the first half of the season to be depended upon, keeping just four clean sheets and being at fault for some goals shipped by the South Coast outfit.
It was clear that the Englishman’s confidence was at an all-time low in their 5-2 defeat at Tottenham on Boxing Day, and given McCarthy’s solid efforts between the sticks for the remainder of the campaign, it’s difficult to see Forster regaining his place as the club’s number one.
And at the age of 30, having already earned six England caps during his career, the former Celtic star is unlikely to be satisfied sat on the substitute’s bench behind his compatriot next season, but can’t really complain if Hughes gives McCarthy the nod again come the first game of the campaign.
Clearly, McCarthy has earned the right to be the number one choice heading into the 2018/19 season, which is why Southampton simply cannot afford to sell him this summer, not just because he played a key part in keeping them up, but because it remains to be seen whether Forster can re-discover his form to replace him.
As such, instead of selling McCarthy, there is only one Englishman the Saints should opt to get rid of this summer, namely fellow goalkeeper Forster.
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