Zander Clark, Benjamin Siegrist, Aberdeen, Rangers and the intriguing Premiership goalkeeper

Even with St Johnstone’s position at the bottom of the cinch Premiership at the year's end, 2021 was momentous for Zander Clark.

The 29-year-old played a key role in the Perth Saints’ cup double with some eye-catching saves. Yet, none were as eye-catching as the memorable assist in the Scottish Cup quarter-final clash with Rangers at Ibrox, heading a late corner down for Chris Kane to score to take the match to penalties.

His form between the sticks just got better and better for Callum Davidson. Back in the summer he produced big late saves in the away ties with Galatasaray and LASK Linz. In the league there was the eight-save game to help St Johnstone defeat Dundee United at Tannadice.

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Clark has been the club’s best player this season. By far. And those displays were rewarded with a Scotland call-up.

Rangers goalkeepers Jon McLaughlin and Allan McGregor are both on deals which expire at he end of the season. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Now, as his stock has reached the highest point it has been, he is set for a huge career decision with his contract up at the end of the season.

Clark interest

Of course, St Johnstone are keen to extend his deal but there is a realism he is in the final months of his time at McDiarmid Park, which has lasted 11 years and nearly 200 games.

The Scottish Sun have reported interest from Dundee United and Aberdeen in the player, while there are teams in England who are also keen. In the past, Rangers have also been mentioned.

Zander Clark will have a big decision to make on his future. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Firstly, Clark will deserve his move whenever and wherever he decides. He has had his moments of struggles during his time as Saints No.1 or when he was battling Alan Mannus for the position. However, over the past 12 months or so he has really stepped it up, bringing a level of consistency and even greater reliability to his performances.

Egregious errors have all but been eradicated from his game. He has improved with the ball at his feet, he's getting his body behind shots much better, while he’s less likely to push shots back into dangerous areas.

The stats back it up. Wyscout have a metric for prevented goals based on the saves made and goals conceded. He is second, behind Craig Gordon, in the league having prevented 5.83. Last season, he was 30th with -6.78.

Goalkeeper merry-go-round

Benjamim Siegrist is out of contract in the summer. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Clark’s position and the teams interested in him add some extra intrigue and point to a bigger picture.

There could be plenty of movement on the goalkeeper front in the Scottish Premiership.

It's obvious why Dundee United are interested. Benjamin Siegrist, one of the best goalkeepers in the league, is out of contract.

The Swiss star will see the possibility of landing a big contract at 29. He has been linked to both Celtic and Rangers and a change of agent raised eyebrows last month. Like with Clark, there is an expectation that he will move on.

They are not the only Premiership goalkeepers who are in the final months of their deal. Jak Alnwick at St Mirren is in the same position, as are Rangers duo Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin.

There has been plenty of transfer speculation surrounding the centre-back position at Ibrox with John Souttar and Vitesse Arnhem captain Danhilo strongly linked as Connor Goldson’s contract situation remains up in the air.

Come the summer they may be in a position where they need to replace two goalkeepers. It therefore makes complete sense as to why Rangers would be looking at Clark or Siegrist for that matter.

They are both experienced, reliable and proven at Premiership level. The last couple of seasons at Celtic and Rangers have shown the need to have two goalkeepers who are more than capable of being No.1.

Of the teams mentioned so far Aberdeen are the outlier. Gary Woods is contracted until 2023 and Joe Lewis until 2024.

The ever-reliable Lewis has been less so, certainly this campaign and even lost his spot, albeit it ever so briefly.

The prevented goals metric was mentioned earlier, Lewis sits 19 out of 21 goalkeepers in the Premiership this season with -2.17. he was 27th last season having been fourth the previous year.

It's a position which can make or break a season. You only need to look at Hearts and the significant difference Craig Gordon has made.

Being an out of contract keeper with a body of work behind you is a strong position to be in. With that, the coming months will be fascinating from a goalkeeper’s perspective and could see Scottish football's very own goalkeeper merry-go-round.

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