Southampton are in talks with goalkeeper Alex McCarthy over a potential new deal which would see him commit his long-term future to the club, according to a report from The Athletic.

McCarthy has managed to establish himself as the Saints’ number one goalkeeper over the last year since winning back his place from Angus Gunn midway through last season. The 31-year-old has played in all but one of Southampton’s opening 24 Premier League matches this season, keeping seven clean sheets and averaging 2.8 saves per game (Sofascore).

His current £50,000-a-week deal is set to expire in the summer of 2022, and with Gunn’s long-term future in doubt following his loan move to Stoke City, the Saints need to secure McCarthy’s future. Ralph Hasenhuttl fully backed the 31-year-old after the recent 3-2 loss at Newcastle United and praised him after his performance in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea at the weekend.

According to The Athletic, Southampton are keen to ensure that they keep hold of their number one goalkeeper beyond the summer of 2022, while they are also working on potential new deals for Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand. They have now opened initial talks with McCarthy over a new contract and, although talks are at an early stage, it is hoped that a deal can be reached relatively smoothly.

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This seems like a no-brainer, with McCarthy a reliable presence in goal for most of the season, helping to keep Southampton in games at times with some impressive saves. His average for goals conceded per game has crept up slightly to 1.7 in the last few weeks during the Saints’ dip in form (Sofascore), but he is still enjoying a strong campaign.

Southampton might need to enter into the transfer market for a new goalkeeper in the summer, depending on what happens with both Gunn and Fraser Forster. It is pivotal that they at least have some clarity over the long-term situation of their number one goalkeeper.

You would expect that McCarthy would be keen to remain at St Mary’s as he has now fully established himself as the number one goalkeeper under Hasenhuttl. The Austrian clearly trusts the 31-year-old and you would imagine that he would remain the first choice for the next few seasons were he to agree a new deal with Southampton.