Five potential keeper captures for Saints to replace Fraser Forster
Southampton are 8/1 for a top four finish with Coral, but the south coast club’s hopes of securing Champions League football have been dealt a severe blow since top stopper Fraser Forster’s injury.
There are just eight games to go in this campaign but Forster, who has helped the Saints shore up their backline with aplomb, could be sidelined for around eight months following surgery for a fractured kneecap.
The highly-rated keeper has now begun his rehabilitation but is still some way off a return, according to coach Ronald Koeman, who told press: “It’s Fraser’s first step to be back in the team and to have the talks with the rest of the players is positive. If you stay at home you feel out of that.
“Now he’s back and doing some exercises. Okay, he can’t do a lot and we know he will be a while but he is back to the training centre and back related to the club. That’s positive and gives good energy to the player.”
Kelvin Davis, 38, bravely stepped into the breach against Burnley, but cannot be considered a long-term choice, while on-loan Artur Boruc’s contract expires this summer. So, it looks as though Saints will have to dig deep in search of a replacement rearguard custodian.
Here’s who we think could protect the St Mary’s posts in Forster’s absence:
Jack Butland (Stoke City)
Bristol-born Butland cannot be kept confined to Stoke’s bench forever, only allowed to stretch his legs in cup competitions, and may be forced to leave the Potters to fulfil his potential. With Asmir Begovic believed to be on the brink of penning a new deal at the Britannia, the time could be right for Saints to steal in and snap up the 21-year-old.
Drafting in Butland would be a bold move by Dutch mastermind Koeman, however, and could threaten Forster’s future at the club.
Tim Krul (Newcastle United)
Dutch spot kick hero Krul could also be an option for Koeman, as uncertainty surrounds current club Newcastle, although Southampton are actually said to be interested in snaring Tyneside teenage sensation Freddie Woodman instead.
A strong personality, underrated Krul certainly has the confidence to make the step up to a team with a chance of continental competition. In stark contrast to reliable Forster, the St James’ Park stopper, who is superb on his day, can also be inconsistent, but could shine behind Saints’ superior backline.
Re-watch Krul’s World Cup shootout heroics here:
Michel Vorm (Tottenham)
Another of Koeman’s compatriots, Vorm had a sensational spell at Swansea City, so his switch to Spurs (16/1 for a top four finish) was somewhat of a perplexing choice.
There is no shame in being back-up to the excellent Hugo Lloris, but Vorm is a top class custodian in his own right. Having made just one Premier League appearance this campaign, the writing is on the wall at White Hart Lane and this could leave the door open for Koeman and co.
Martin Stekelenburg (Fulham/Monaco)
Experienced and agile keeper Stekelenburg has plied his trade for several top sides and, following a disappointing stint with Monaco, needs to find an alternative escape route from parent club Fulham.
The Cottagers could offload the former Roma custodian to lower their wage bill and Koeman already has previous with the keeper, having previously worked alongside him at Ajax.
With the Saints requiring a quick-fix to borrow, rather than steal, Forster’s gloves, and Stelekelenburg needing to resurrect his career, this switch to work under Koeman’s wing would make the most sense.
Anders Lindegaard (Manchester United)
Lindegaard is another capable custodian kept out of his club’s starting XI due to an exceptional talent. Solid if unspectacular, the Danish stopper has been stuck in David de Gea’s shadow for far too long.
Seemingly keen to remain at Old Trafford, the 30-year-old has too much talent to become a back-up by trade. Approaching the latter half of his career, and now third choice behind Louis van Gaal favourite Victor Valdes, Lindegaard could be a superb stop-gap for Southampton.
Lindegaard in action against Sergio Aguero below: