Have Southampton overpaid for Man City goalkeeper Angus Gunn?
Southampton have reached a deal for Manchester City's Angus Gunn. The £10 million fee is expected to rise another £3.5 million with agreed contract add-ons. Is the deal overpriced for an untested Premier League goalkeeper or is it just another normal Premier League transfer?
Despite their relegation battle last season, the Saints expect to return to a mid-table place. After helping them survive by a three-point margin, the club had nothing but thanks for interim boss Mark Hughes. The Welshman took charge in March after Mauricio Pellegrino was sacked. Hughes' contract kept him on the South Coast until season's end. A three-year extension was his reward for job done.
Hiughes can now reshape the squad to his needs. Three players have been shown the door this summer. Guido Carillo was loaned to Leganes in Spain. Youngsters Olufela Olomola and Will Wood were let go on free transfers. Dusan Tadic moved to Dutch giants Ajax. With room in the clubhouse for players to come in the opposite direction, Stuart Armstrong joined from Celtic and Norwegian Mohamed Elyounoussi from FC Basel. An attacking mid, Armstrong cost £6 million. Elyounoussi, who also roams the middle of the park, set So'ton back £16 million.
Then the club pulled the trigger on Angus Gunn. The 22-year-old goalkeeper spent last season comfortably out on loan at Norwich where he was born and began his youth career. Everything fell into place for him. His time on City's books began in 2011 but he never played a competitive game for the Citizens. Championship football kickstarted his development. He was first-choice at Carrow Road.
Still, it's fair to ask whether £13.5 million is too much for a goalkeeper who hasn't taken the pitch in a top-flight match? Arguably, his number one position with the Canaries was the sole reason for his price tag even though graduating City's youth academy is a sign of great promise.
Inflation must also be taken into account. Roma are allegedly asking £70 million plus for their keeper Allison. Liverpool are said to be interested but the asking price is more than double the world record fee City paid for Ederson.
Gunn's situation is obviously different. Transfermarkt values him at £2 million. Southampton's initial payment is five times that. With no experience at this level, that's quite a risk to take.
Despite the fee, he will have to win the job. Alex McCarthy took over the role from Fraser Forster mid-season. Forster is believed to be on his way out with McCarthy taking over. Gunn's arrival supports the theory. Whether or not Mark Hughes will keep McCarthy as his number one is playing on Saints fans' minds. At least they can be reassured Sparky has strengthened the goalkeeping department.
The England U21 shot-stopper must see the move as career-defining, a step forward and a chance to further prove his value. Hughes obviously wanted him but won't coddle his new player.
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola can tell reporters his team isn't just buying talent. Forty more deals like that and the Etihad outfit will be in the black during his tenure. Since there was no room in the matchday squad even on cup days, the Catalan can be seen to do right by his youth players.
On the one hand, the fee appears exorbitant but when squad players are pulling in £40 and 50 million, it's a bargain. Angus Gunn's transfer is a glass either half full or half empty and we won't know which until the new season is well underway.