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Pope In Line For Goalkeeping Job At St Mary's
Wednesday, 1st Jun 2022 09:28

Southampton could be in line for a visit from the Pope, but it won't be a papal visit, Saints have suddenly become favourites to sign relegated Burnley keeper Nick Pope, but what are the chances of it happening you may ask ? Read on.

Saints have been linked with several names to fill what is now the vacant number 1 spot, of the four keeper on the books last season, Harry Lewis is already lined up to join former Saints player & manager, Mark Hughes at Bradford City, whilst Fraser Forster seems set to warm the bench at Tottenham Hotspur & Willy Cabbalero looks set to depart after his short term contract got Saints out of a hole last season.

That leave just Alex McCarthy, his current status is a little unclear in that he is seemingly out of contract, but his agent appeared on the list that Saints had to publish of fee's they paid to agents, where it seems he was paid to renegotiate a deal for his client.

Strangely that deal has never been announced, possibly due to the fact that McCarthy's current wages were never going to be matched, so it was in his interest to see out his contract before signing a reduced deal, that could have been agreed mid season and perhaps even signed to start on July 1st after his current deal runs out.

But McCarthy is not the answer to Saints first team keeper problems, at best he is a capable short term back up.

Several keepers are still being linked as mentioned in the past week . Bartłomiej Drągowski of Fiorentina is being linked in what is a double swoop for his fellow Polish countryman Mateusz Lis, who was said to being signed and then sent out on loan.

Sam Johnstone soon to be formerly of West Brom when his contract expires was painted as the likely candidate back in January, but he has dropped down the rankings to come to the South Coast, Tottenham were interested but signing Forster ends their interest and Crystal Palace are front runners for his signature.

Palace are also being linked with Nick Pope of Burnley, but they seem to have waned as they look likely to sign Johnstone.

Saints have not been mentioned much in Nick Pope, only in passing, but the odds of him signing for them seems to have heightened in recent days with their odds being shortened drastically to 2/1 favourites, jumping over the likes of Newcastle on 4/1, West Ham, Fulham, Tottenham, Bournemouth, Manchester United are also named on the list with odds between 6-16/1.

Palace's rating in this list has gone out to 18/1.

So why have Saints odds shortened so much, certainly it hasn't been the rumour mill, this has barely mentioned Saints being in for Pope, who has a year left on his contract at Turf Moor and with relegation Burnley have to trim their wage bill.

There could be several reasons why Saints are now favourites, the obvious would be that suddenly there has been a rush of money on Pope to go to St Mary's, although this type of market is a fun one and that means quite a low limit on the maximum bet that the bookies will take on it, due to the possibility of someone close to one of the parties leaking it when it is a done deal.

Or it could be because someone in the football industry usually an agent, has leaked something and that in itself has reached the bookies and they have slashed their odds in reaction.

Likewise it could be a chain reaction on other clubs in the betting, with Spurs seemingly dropping out after doing the Forster deal and Palace linked with Johnstone, suddenly two & two could be put together to make in this case 2/1

So Nick Pope is the current bookies favourite but that does not mean that he is anywhere near signing for Saints.

Would he be a good signing for Saints ? undoubtably, he has been in fine form and his height and presence is something we have lacked, but the one blip is his ability to play out from the back, Burnley don't play in this way so he has not been called upon very often for them to use his feet and distribute the ball.

At International level for England over the past year he looked likely to overtake Jordan Pickford in the pecking order, but with the Everton man out of form and making rash decisions, he could not quite oust him with a question mark over his distribution talents.

From a Saints perspective distribution is also an issue, Ralph Hasenhuttl likes his keepers to play out from the back, another issue could be age in that Pope has just turned 30, will the club alter it's usual strategy of signing players who they can improve and have a potential sell on value, although Pope will have at least four years left in him at the top level, he wont have much potential to get a decent fee at 34 or 35.

This would be a real leap of faith for Saints if they signed him.

So this deal remains to be seen, but I have to say if it happened it would be a coup for Saints and one that would go a long way to showing Saints fans that the club mean business.

Photo: Action Images

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dirk_doone added 09:44 - Jun 1
If any other Premier League club bids for him, we won't get him. What are the chances of nobody else wanting him?

underweststand added 09:46 - Jun 1
" A goalkeeper is only as a good as the defence in front of him ", but of the available names being floated; Henderson, Johnstone etc, I am most impressed by Nick Pope. and we certainly need someone who is a step-up from McCarthy.

Not sure that this will happen though....

dirk_doone added 09:57 - Jun 1
Just about anybody would be a step up from McCarthy but, I agree with you, underweststand, of the goalkeepers we've been linked with, Pope would be ny preferred choice.

highfield49 added 10:06 - Jun 1
I'm actually relieved to read that the club has been mentioned in respect of signing a well known, experienced player of international quality. As playing the ball out from the back is all very well for the likes of City, Liverpool, Clelsea etc who have the luxury of top notch keepers and defenders I'm not sure that it's a game plan to which we should necessarily aspire. We don't actually have too many players with the ability to play the ball from the back, certainly under pressure from a pressing opposition, and only look comfortable doing so with time to make right decisions. Yup, I'd be delighted if we can get Pope's signature on a contract at the start of the transfer window.

halftimeorange added 12:18 - Jun 1
Nick Pope would be a good signing and his inability to play out from the back seems like a clincher to me. Why on earth we try to do it baffles me and invariably our defence, too. He was used to feeding a tall CF in Chris Wood. If we can get an attacker taller than our usual shortie that would be a bonus.

WestSussexSaint added 13:04 - Jun 1
Surely the primary consideration for a goalkeeper is his ability to keep the ball out of the net. With that in mind Pope would be a good option for us. Southgate likes his keepers to play out from the back as well but it hasn’t stopped Pope regularly being in England squads. Fraser Forster was woeful with his feet but got better with practice. His age is not an issue as he is probably in his prime at 30. So go get him!

redwight added 14:19 - Jun 1
At last some good news - if the rumour becomes a reality.
I too cannot understand the obsession with playing out from the back. What it invariably amounts to is the ball being passed along the back line, and sometimes back again, whereupon one of the CB's plays a long ball forward. Which only begs the question, why not do that in the first place? We are not good enough to play like Man City, so why pretend that we are? It only puts us under unnecessary pressure.

SanMarco added 23:00 - Jun 1
I heartily agree with all of the above anti play out from the back comments. Even with the better teams I see more goals conceded from cock-ups than sweeping moves up the pitch that actually score. A boot up the field, just like Ian Turner in 76, is more likely to get a goal in my view.

Oh and yes - Pope would be a great signing.

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