England goalkeeper Fraser Forster has ended speculation linking him with a possible move to Chelsea and followed in the footsteps of teammates Virgil van Dijk and James Ward-Prowse by signing a new contract at Southampton. The towering former Newcastle United and Celtic stopper, who had two years remaining on his previous deal, has agreed fresh terms that will keep him at St Mary's until the summer of 2021.
Forster missed the first five months of the current Premier League season due to an operation to repair damage to his left patellar tendon suffered against Burnley in March 2015, but that lengthy lay-off appears to have had no lasting effects. The 28-year-old did not take long to reassert his authority and went on to break Paul Jones' record for the longest time any Saints goalkeeper has gone without conceding by remaining unbeaten for 708 minutes.
"I'm delighted," he told Southampton's official website."It's been another good year for the club and I think there's real ambition around the place and it's good to be a part of it, so to commit and sign a new deal is unbelievable and I'm just looking forward to getting stated again.
"Every player wants to keep moving forward in their career and for me especially I'm very ambitious, and I think at this club there is that real ambition and desire to keep moving forward and improve year-in, year-out."
Forster's new contract will presumably prove to be the death knell to any interest from Chelsea, who could face a battle to keep current number one Thibaut Courtois this summer amid sustained interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. As a potential contingency plan for the Belgian's departure, reports from The Sun in April suggested that last season's champions were willing to spend £20m ($28.8m) to take him to Stamford Bridge.
Responding to that interest last month, Forster told Sky Sports: "I think it is a compliment in many ways because if you are being linked with teams then you are obviously doing the right things. I have two years left on my contract at Southampton and I have loved my time here.
"I can't thank the club enough for the way they have stood by me when I was injured. I'm just concentrating on the day-to-day business here at the club and then hopefully I can have a good summer with England."