Manchester City have struck a deal for the sale of goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu to Southampton from Manchester City. The young goalie has been on the books of City for the last three years since joining the club from Shamrock Rover in 2019.
Although he did not feature for the blues, he put up some good performances during two season-long loans in League One in the last two years. That convinced the Saints to acquire his services. The fee is reported to be £12m and could rise to £15m.
Bazunu made 32 appearances for Rochdale in the 2020/21 campaign under Man City’s current academy head coach Brian Barry-Murphy. He stepped up his game last season at Portsmouth, featuring 46 times. That good performance drew wide attention earning him the 2021-22 League One players’ player of the year.
He expressed delight at the opportunity to play regular football at St. Mary’s Stadium as he looks forward to developing further in his career.
“I feel like it’s a place I can come and develop and learn my game. The biggest thing is opportunity - the fact that I can come here and have a chance to play regular football,” Bazunu said after putting pen to paper.
The 20-year-old has become a full international featuring 10 times already for the Republic of Ireland.
He had previously looked forward to becoming City’s first-choice goalkeeper in future, but also frowned at the prospect of sitting on the bench at the Etihad or anywhere else. That may have played into the decision to sell him outright.
However, it is expected that City inserted a buyback clause in the contract as has become common practice at the Etihad Stadium for bright prospects. That also includes a sell-on clause in the event that Southampton sell another club in future.
The goalkeeping department is filled at the moment as City re-signed Scott Carson on a one-year contract on Tuesday. Ederson remains number one with Zack Steffen acting as deputy. Carson, therefore, provides cover as third choice.
Having become a regular for the Republic of Ireland, Bazunu may not be comfortable taking the third spot even if Carson were to depart at the end next season. It’s understandable then that he had to be let go.
Whether he becomes first choice for the Saints remains to be seen, as the club have also signed Polish goalkeeper Mateusz Lis, 25, after he left Turkish side Altay.
There’s space for the duo as Southampton keeper Fraser Forster recently moved to Tottenham on a free transfer, while one of their back-ups Harry Lewis is headed for Bradford.
We at Bitterandblue wish Bazunu the best for the future.