Watford have joined the race to sign Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton, according to a report in the Sun.
The Hornets join Premier League rivals Aston Villa and Bournemouth in an attempt to capture his signature, with the report suggesting the 33-year-old has rejected a new contract at Turf Moor. He also only has one-year remaining on his current deal, meaning he could leave on a free next summer if no agreement is made.
Watford already have Ben Foster at the club, and Heaton would be competing with his fellow countryman for the number one jersey if he were to move to Vicarage Road. Southampton, on the other hand, do not have an established first-choice keeper, which is one reason why the south coast club should also try and buy Heaton.
Last season, the Saints had problems in attack, with forwards Danny Ings, Charlie Austin and Shane Long only contributing 14 league goals between them. But Southampton also struggled at the back, as they conceded 65 goals, placing them 15th out of the 20 Premier League teams. And with not many goals going in at the other end, they finished the season on a minus-20 goal difference.
Arsenal demonstrated last season that goals can get you out of trouble, as they conceded the second highest amount amongst the top nine clubs, but scored 73 themselves – only Manchester City and Liverpool scored more.
However, they could be the outlier. There was a direct correlation last season between the top-four clubs that conceded the fewest goals, as they all finished in the top four places. Meaning, despite this attacking football everyone seems to love, defending is still crucial.
For these reasons, Southampton should try and sign Heaton. Fraser Forster has slipped down the pecking order at St Mary’s which has left Angus Gunn and Alex McCarthy battling it out for the top spot. In a comparison on Whoscored.com between Heaton and the two Saints keepers, it is the Burnley man that has a higher ranking with a 6.61 score, while McCarthy scored 6.58 and Gunn 6.37.
If Southampton are not going to address the issues in attack, then signing Heaton could go a small way to fixing the problems they have at the back.