Why Southampton loaning out Angus Gunn is ideal for all parties
According to the Stoke Sentinel, out-of-favour Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn has joined Championship outfit Stoke City on a season-long loan deal. The Saints shot-stopper has been roped in on a temporary deal to replace Jack Butland, who completed a return to the Premier League with Crystal Palace on the domestic deadline day.
Angus Gunn rose through the youth ranks of Norwich City before joining Man City’s academy back in 2011. Despite impressing for the reserve side, he never made a first-team appearance for the Cityzens and had his first taste of senior football while on loan at his former club Norwich in the Championship.
The 24-year-old managed an impressive 16 clean sheets in 51 appearances for the Canaries during the 2017-18 campaign, which paved the way for a move to Southampton in the Premier League. However, Gunn has struggled for consistency in the Premier League over the past two years, despite being afforded some decent game time by manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.
The former England U-21 international has made 30 appearances for the Saints in all competitions and has now taken a step down to the Championship in search of regular playtime with Stoke City.
Southampton have enough quality in goal
Southampton seemed to have bagged a real coup in the market when they signed Angus Gunn from Man City back in 2018. Touted widely as one of the best young goalkeeping talents in English football, Gunn had been tipped to leapfrog more established names like Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster in the pecking order at St. Mary’s.
However, things haven’t really gone according to the script for the Norwich-born shot-stopper. After a string of decent displays between the sticks in his debut season, Gunn was given a real crack of the whip by Hasenhuttl to establish himself as the club’s No.1 last term, with Forster spending the campaign on loan at Celtic.
The 24-year-old, though, failed to inspire much confidence with his displays in the Premier League, conceding as many as 25 goals in 10 games. Granted, Gunn didn’t have the best set of defenders to shield his goal, nor did he make any direct errors leading to goals. But he hardly looked like a safe pair of hands.
Those claims are well backed up by the numbers. As per Sofascore, Gunn’s dismal save percentage of 55 ranked worst among all PL goalkeepers to have played at least 10 games last season. His lacklustre form in goal and ineptness to make regulation saves left Hasenhuttl with little choice but to reinstate McCarthy in the No.1 role.
Now with Forster back at St. Mary’s this season and McCarthy currently serving as the No.1, Gunn found himself demoted to the third-choice keeper at Southampton. It was always going to be difficult for him to challenge for regular game time under such circumstances even if he tried his very best.
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All in all, Southampton’s decision to ship Angus Gunn out on loan looks like a smart piece of business for a number of reasons. His prospects of playing regularly at St. Mary’s looked slim due to the presence of Forster and McCarthy, so it wouldn’t have made sense for the Saints to pay him wages for doing next to nothing.
More importantly, Gunn probably needs a bit more polishing at the Championship level after struggling to produce his best in the Premier League. A loan spell at Stoke should now give him the opportunity to further his development.