Southampton: 'Counting against him' - 161-game star set for St. Mary's exit

Fraser Forster is likelier to leave Southampton than stay at the club this summer, according to The Sun journalist Tom Barclay.

The 34-year-old has played every minute in the Premier League since Christmas, but he’s out of contract at the end of the season and could therefore end his eight-year stay on the South Coast.

What’s the latest news involving Forster?

With Forster’s deal expiring this summer, there’s been constant uncertainty surrounding his future at St Mary’s Stadium.

Having hardly featured in the 18 months after he returned from his loan deal with Celtic post-lockdown, the shotstopper appeared to be heading towards the exit door.

However, an injury to Alex McCarthy before Christmas has allowed Forster to come back into the side and give Ralph Hasenhuttl a timely-reminder of his capabilities.

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Since returning to the XI for the Boxing Day victory at West Ham, he has played 18 matches on the bounce, to take his overall tally for the Saints to 161, with his form leading to an England recall for the recent friendlies with Switzerland and Ivory Coast.

Forster wouldn’t make a first international appearance for six years, but it highlighted his recent form between the sticks.

Regardless, the Telegraph believe that Southampton are expected to axe Forster this summer and keep Alex McCarthy on their books.

What did Barclay say about Forster?

McCarthy is also out of contract this summer, but Barclay understands there is an agreement in place for him to stay, even though nothing has been officially announced.

He told GIVEMESPORT: “The fact that McCarthy has extended his deal and the way that Southampton like to do things in terms of developing younger players, that’s counting against him.

“If McCarthy hadn’t signed a new deal, it could be Forster being the one with a new deal and McCarthy trying to prove himself, but he’s obviously been injured.

“It’s one to watch, but I am leaning towards him still leaving.”

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Has Forster had a better season than McCarthy?

According to WhoScored, it’s almost impossible to separate the duo, with Forster claiming an average rating of 6.72, compared to McCarthy’s 6.73.

But according to FBref, Forster is enjoying a slightly better campaign.

The England goalkeeper has kept fewer clean sheets but he has made 27 more saves than his opposite number in just three games more, while his save percentage is slightly higher at 67.7 per cent.

Southampton generally concede more when Forster is playing but they’ve won 33 per cent of the games that he’s started this season, compared to just three of the 15 when McCarthy has been picked.

Overall, it’s generally impossible to split the pair, so with McCarthy three years younger, that could prove the deciding factor in keeping him over Forster.

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