Alex McCarthy to Celtic transfer latest as Southampton make stance clear

Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has been linked with Celtic
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Russell Martin has told Celtic and other suitors that Southampton will do all they can to persuade Alex McCarthy to stay at the club.

England cap McCarthy is out of contract at St Mary's this summer and has been linked with a move north of the border. Brendan Rodgers has prioritised a new shotstopper after Joe Hart hung up his gloves following Saturday's Scottish Cup Final win over Rangers and experienced McCarthy is one of a number of names who have been touted.

McCarthy spent the majority of a frustrating campaign on the bench and in the stands before being brought in from the cold last month to replace the injured Gavin Bazunu. The 34-year-old proved an inspirational figure between the sticks as he helped Saints win promotion back to the Premier League, keeping a clean sheet in the 1-0 play-off final win against Leeds United at Wembley.

Scotland duo Stuart Armstrong and Che Adams are also out of contract at Southampton but boss Martin has made it clear he wants to keep the trio at the club.

He told the Southern Daily Echo: "Yeah, we'll try and keep all three. I think that's been the plan the whole time. Whether or not we can, I don't know. I know that there will be offers for all of them and probably offers that will pay them more than we can. Hopefully, the feeling they have and all that stuff will outweigh financial gain but maybe there'll be other things about it too.

"Whether that is location, club, how they feel about it - but we'll do our very best to try and keep all three. I think all three of them have been really outstanding. We've missed Stuey since he's been injured. The effort Che put in to get fit to be on that pitch, I don't think I'll ever take for granted. I feel so grateful to him for doing that.

"And then Big Al, I guess I'm a bit of an idiot for not playing a bit sooner but I think we have such a brilliant goalkeeping department here with Gavin and Joe as well. I'm so pleased for Al that it finished in this way. As I said, maybe it was meant to happen that he came into the team at some point.

"He's been immense since he came in so we'll try and keep Al as well and we'll keep our fingers crossed. It's my job now to try and squeeze more money out of Phil and the board and everyone and see where it takes us."