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Premier League Southampton are leading the chase to sign boyhood Saints fanatic Charlie Setford from Eredivisie giants Ajax ahead of the January transfer window, as reported by TEAMtalk

It is well documented that Ralph Hasenhuttl wants a new goalkeeper at St Mary’s in 2022. 

Alex McCarthy, then, may look back on his performance during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Norwich City with a great deal of regret should he lose his place to an outside hire.

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If the Southampton stopper could have done better with Teemu Pukki’s equaliser, he certainly should have with Grant Hanley’s second-half winner. 

It must be said, however, that Setford is unlikely to replace McCarthy as Hasenhuttl’s go-to number one. Not initially, at least.  

The England U18 international is just 17 years of age after all.

And while former RB Leipzig boss Hasenhuttl has a fine track record when it comes to blooding talented youngsters – Tino Livramento has benefitted immensely since swapping Chelsea for the South Coast – even he would have reservations about throwing a teenage glovesman into the choppy waters of the Premier League.  

Setford, then, is one of the future rather than the here and now.

Is Ajax’s Charlie Setford joining Southampton?

Photo by Patrick Goosen/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Setford has featured for Ajax’s ‘Jong’ team in the Dutch second tier, however, and also appeared on the bench for nine of the club’s 13 Eredivisie fixtures so far this term – although that was largely the result of Andre Onana’s doping ban. 

TEAMtalk claim that a number of Premier League clubs are interested.

Southampton are understood to be the most likely destination at this stage, however, and will be confident of sealing a deal given Setford has red and white blood flowing through his veins. 

The report adds that Southampton, who are just two points off the top half of the Premier League table, are considering an approach with the January transfer window just five weeks away.  

Setford is not the only Eredivisie shot-stopper on Southampton’s radar. Maduke Okoye, however, turned down the Saints in favour of a £7 million move to Watford.

Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images

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