Positional sense: goalkeeper

Posted by Chris Rann

So with the transfer window well and truly open, the released list public (all the best to Frazer Richardson, Danny Butterfield, Dan Seaborne, Ryan Dickson, Ben Reeves, Sam Hoskins, Tommy Forecast and Alberto Seidi for the future) and deals about to be done, I thought I would spend some time looking at each area of the pitch and see where Saints should be looking to strengthen.

First up is goalkeepers, and this can be considered a complete turnaround from this time last season. Saints opened the season with regular Kelvin Davis in goal, but he came in for heavy criticism as they struggled to find their feet in the Premier League. Soon new boy Paolo Gazzaniga was given the nod, and did OK, but his relative inexperience soon showed and perhaps it was asking a bit much.

Artur Boruc was signed on a free to solve the goalkeeping 'issue' but he also had a terrible Premier League career start, conceding four on his debut at West Ham before having a spat with the home crowd the following game against Spurs. Nigel Adkins went back to Gazzaniga and then Davis.

Saints were in shot-stopping hell, and the constant changing of keepers was doing the club no good at all as it tried to turn its dreadful opening for around.

Thankfully 'hapless' was only a temporary adjective for Boruc, and he returned for the home fixture against Arsenal, fitter, leaner, sharper and, in emphatic style, only denied a clean sheet by an unfortunate Guly own goal, but still playing a major part in a decent Saints point.

Over the course of the back end to the season, once Mauricio Pochettino took charge, Boruc had made the transition to first choice, fan favourite and highly accomplished goalkeeper, and, dare I say it, up there with the best in the Premier League.

So where does that leave Saints this summer on the goalkeeping front? Well, despite some doubt, Boruc has signed a contract extension with the club and will deservedly go into the new season as the number one. Club captain and legend Kelvin Davis also signed a contract extension, meaning he will see out his career at Saints in 2016 and earn himself a testimonial for 10 years service in the process.

Couple those two with the young and potential-laden Gazzaniga, and American Will Britt, a youth FA Cup winner while on loan at Norwich last season and freshly pro contracted. As those two learn their trade from former Spanish international Toni Jimenez in the background, Saints are looking pretty good.

Were I a cruel man, I would also suggest that the loss of Tommy Forecast may have actually strengthened Saints in the goalkeeping position too.....

Verdict - Strengthen the goalkeeping position? No.

Keep the faith.

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