Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has raised the possibility of the club offering goalkeeper Fraser Forster a new contract in an attempt to ward off interest from Chelsea. The England international's current deal has just over two years to run but his performances this term has led to speculation over his future.
The Sun understand that the Blues are interested in recruiting Forster in a £20m deal this summer, should goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois leave the club in search of Champions League football. The 27-year-old has been key for the Saints and earlier this season kept a club record six successive clean sheets.
Amid that run of 633 minutes without conceding a goal, Forster produced a man-of-the-match display in a goalless draw with Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium – a performance which Koeman described as "magic" as he kept the Premier League title chasers at bay with a flurry of fine saves. The performance among others has triggered interest from Chelsea but Koeman has a plan to prevent the stopper becoming the latest departure from St Mary's.
"That's a possibility, yes," said Koeman, according to The Daily Echo, when asked if Forster could be awarded a new contract amid interest from Chelsea. "For sure there is more interest in other players as well for Southampton players. We know the players are doing well, they are improving and of course big teams looking to other teams with interest what they will have for players."
"We try (to keep the squad together) but we know our situation and we know we can't win against the big teams with a lot of money. That's a good thing, our players have ambition. Everybody wants to play at the highest level. But we will do everything we can to keep the players in."
With Chelsea now scrambling to secure a place in the top half of the Premier League, the club are braced for the departure of several big name players with the west London side set for at least one season outside of Europe's premier club competition. Courtois has failed to recapture the form which saw him excel on loan at Atletico Madrid where he won the La Liga title, the Europa League and reached the Champions League final.