Southampton have reportedly been scouting Bristol City goalkeeper Daniel Bentley recently; and if he were to join Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side this summer, it could be bad news for Alex McCarthy.
According to the Bristol Post, Southampton scouts have been in attendance at Ashton Gate in recent weeks and have been keeping a close eye on Bentley.
The 27-year-old has been a regular in the Championship since joining Brentford on a free transfer from Southend in the summer of 2016, spending three years with the Bees before making the move to Bristol City.
He has been first-choice with the Robins in the two seasons since, making 83 appearances, in which he has conceded 114 goals and kept just 19 clean sheets.
However, previous spells at Southend, where he kept 56 clean sheets in 160 appearances, and Brentford, where he kept 35 in 125 appearances, demonstrate that he is a more than capable ‘keeper when blessed with a solid defence in front of him, something with which Bristol City struggled this season before the arrival of Nigel Pearson.
As he is just 27, he still has plenty of time left in his career, and if he does make the step up to the Premier League with Southampton this summer, then you would imagine one of Fraser Forster or McCarthy would leave.
Although the latter was very much first-choice earlier in the season, he has dropped out of the team in recent weeks as a result of his poor form, whilst Forster boasts a much more impressive clean sheet record, having kept six in his eight appearances in all competitions so far this season.
Bentley has a superior WhoScored average rating to McCarthy this season and the two average a similar number of passes per game, which suggests that he could be a suitable replacement for the former Reading man.
Therefore, you could argue that, on current form, McCarthy would be the one to leave should the £3.6m-rated Bentley arrive in the summer, as it seems unlikely that the Bristol City man would be happy as third choice in Hasenhuttl’s squad.
The 27-year-old has been a solid keeper at Championship level for a few seasons now, and if Southampton can agree a relatively low fee for Bentley, then Martin Semmens should consider bringing him to the south coast this summer.