Southampton transfer news: Saints monitoring highly-rated teenager

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl looking bewildered

Southampton are eyeing a potential move for West Brom goalkeeper Josh Griffiths this summer, according to Football Insider.

What's the latest news involving Josh Griffiths?

The 19-year-old is currently on loan at League Two side Cheltenham, who have just gained promotion to the third tier of English football.

It is understood that Saints scouts were in attendance for his latest outing against Carlisle on Tuesday, and they seem to have been suitably impressed, as the South Coast club are now linked with making a move for the teenager.

How has Griffiths fared at Cheltenham?

Griffiths has played 41 league matches for Cheltenham this term, keeping 21 clean sheets in those games. 

The side have conceded just 37 goals all year - only Salford have conceded fewer in the division.

Griffiths' displays led to him being called up for the England Under-21s last month for the group stages of the European Championships.

Has conceding goals been a problem for Southampton this season?

It certainly has.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's team started the campaign well, and briefly topped the table back in early November. However, things have gone downhill in 2021, and that has largely been due to the side shipping so many goals.

Since the turn of the year, Southampton have kept just two top-flight clean sheets, which has seen them plummet down the league to 15th place.

They have conceded 58 goals in their 32 matches - West Brom (64) are the only team who have let in more in the Premier League. 

This seems to have caused Hasenhuttl to question who his best goalkeeper is. Having been the side's first-choice option for the most of the season, Alex McCarthy has been benched for five of the Saints' last seven matches, with Fraser Forster replacing him. Forster has only kept one clean sheet in this period, though, suggesting that the switch has not really worked.

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Could Griffiths fix Hasenhuttl's big problem?

In time, he could.

Griffiths does not turn 20 until September, so to expect him to come in and jump ahead of McCarthy and Forster in the pecking order immediately is a big ask.

Still, he has had a very promising season, and appears to be building a strong reputation for himself. 

His recent international recognition indicates that he has a bright future ahead of him, and could make the step up to the Premier League soon.

It seems that Hasenhuttl may have to stick with McCarthy or Forster for the moment, but with a little more experience behind him, Griffiths may be the man to establish himself as the long-term Southampton no. 1 in the next couple of years.

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