Liverpool Not Interested In McCarthy
Friday, 8th Jun 2018 09:28
Any talk of Liverpool making a bid for Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy are way off the mark according to reports from Merseyside.
Claiming that Liverpool would be making a bid for Alex McCarthy was an easy link for the football media, the Anfield club clearly need a keeper and given that they usually spend their summers shopping on the South Coast at St Mary's it was a lazy headline to make.
But the good news for Saints fans is that Alex McCarthy is a long way off the profile that they want for their next keeper.
As they invest in their squad to try and win that elusive Premier league title and re establish themselves as England's undisputed top club by winning trophies they have moved up a notch or two in the level that their signings are established at.
Whereas a season or two ago they would have been following the Saints way of doing things, albeit they were the next step in the the chain, ie Saints sign a promising player who has performed well at a lesser league in Europe, he then establishes himself in the Premier League at Saints and then Liverpool move in and sign him proven at this level, the Anfield club know they now need to move up a notch or two and sign players who are established rather than sign potential.
Whilst it cannot be denied that McCarthy had a great end to his season at St Mary's, the truth is he is a long way off what Liverpool require.
They consider that in essence he is no better than the two goalkeepers they have, Mignolet and Karius are technically better keepers but have shown they don't have the mental steel needed to perform week in week out to the highest level.
Liverpool supporters will tell you that they have known that the goalkeepers haven't been up to it for a long time, that they need replacing, the club now know this and they know that if they truly want to build on the progress made this season then they have to bring in proven quality.
From this perspective it is why Alex McCarthy does not fit their bill by a long chalk, his 18 Premier League appearances for Saints represented almost half his career total in the top flight, prior to this season he had barely played a league game in over two years since an unimpressive stint at Crystal Palace in 2015/16 saw him make 7 appearances.
Prior to that a year on loan at QPR yielded only 2 starts plus another as sub and in Readings relegation season of 2013/14 he played only 13 games.
So when Liverpool looked at his track record which they undoubtedly did, they did not like what they saw, at 28 years old he had never established himself at the top level until this season and indeed in his entire career he had only managed to go through an entire season as undisputed first choice only twice, once at Yeovil in League 1 in 2010/11 and then for Reading in the Championship in 2013/14, but even then he did not start the following season as first choice being shipped out to QPR early the following season to sit on their bench.
So this was not the track record that Liverpool were looking for and neither is 18 games enough to determine whether McCarthy is truly now the finished article or merely had a purple patch.
So it seems that most of this transfer talk is more about his agent trying to use his recent form as leaverage to get a big money new deal for his client either at St Mary's or elsewhere.
The problem that his agent has and he knows it, is that there are a plethora of keepers with far better track records available, Tom Heaton at Burnley for instance or Jack Butland from Stoke to name but two.
So it seems that McCarthy's choices may be limited, unless he is happy sitting on the bench none of the big six will want him, Burnley and Everton have good keepers, so would any other move be better than his options here ?
But Saints also have a dilemma, they have to decide themselves whether McCarthy is the man for the job, whether Forster's confidence is destroyed or indeed if they decide to go with neither and bring in a new man themselves.
We have had McCarthy here for two seasons now and although injury destroyed most of his first season, did we see anything in that time that suggested that he was anything other than a competent back up ? Certainly we did not throw him in till things got really desperate and it was clear that Fraser Forster's confidence was completely shot.
Whilst it cannot be argued that McCarthy's performances at the end of the season played a big part in our survival, they were in essence only 4 maybe 5 games, prior to that we were still shipping goals in the numbers that we had been under Forster, yes McCarthy did have some good games in that time, but then again Forster also had good games during the first half of the season as well.
Saints were in no hurry to get McCarthy signed up to a new deal at any time prior to the last three weeks of the season, I think up to then they saw him still as a competent back up and their choice would be either that Forster had recovered his confidence or that they looked for a new keeper, perhaps that is still the case.
McCarthy quite rightly is looking to capitalise on his recent form and get a big pay deal, rumours emit that he is looking to be on a parity with Fraser Forster, his agents rational is that if his client is ahead of Forster in the pecking order then he should be getting the same money, however if Saints were to match Forster's pay deal then that would be folly, we probably paid too much to sign him up to a new deal in the first place, if McCarthy gets a new deal it should be on his own ability not because we made a mistake in what we pay Forster.
So Alex McCarthy's future is still up in the air, but it looks like he won't be moving to Anfield.
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