Manchester City's Joe Hart may have picked up the Premier League Golden Glove award for the 2014/15 season, keeping 14 clean sheets throughout the season. Arsenal's Petr Cech might be the current frontrunner to win the award for the 2015/16 season, having kept nine clean sheets so far. In the calendar year of 2015, though, no Premier League goalkeeper had more clean sheets than Liverpool's Simon Mignolet, who helped his football club score shutouts in 16 league fixtures.
Mignolet is often underrated as a goalkeeper. Liverpool fans criticize him frequently, often focusing on his faults, errors, and allowed goals rather than his accomplishments. He's also failed to win the Golden Glove-at least, until now. This season, he has seven clean sheets so far, putting him in a four-way tie at fifth in the Golden Glove race. Last season, he finished with 13 clean sheets-just one away from Joe Hart's award-winning tally.
Still, despite Mignolet's vocal critics, the Belgian keeper was clearly a pivotal part of Liverpool's soccer squad in 2015. While the Reds largely floundered in the 2014/15 season, finishing sixth in the Premier League, things definitely could have been worse without such a strong presence in the goal. And this season, even as the Reds struggle to find a new identity under new manager Jurgen Klopp, Mignolet has continued to give the soccer club good chances at shutout victories.
A New Contract?
Unsurprisingly, there is talk going around that Mignolet could be in the process of negotiating a brand new (and more valuable) contract with Liverpool. On December 14th, The Guardian reported that Mignolet was close to agreeing to a new contract and that negotiations over said contract would be completed "by the end of the month."
Obviously, the end of December has come and gone, and we still haven't heard anything official about a contract extension for Mignolet. The 27-year-old Belgian keeper is currently contracted to stay at Anfield until June 2018. However, given his status as one of the Premier League's top goalkeepers for 2015, the Reds could well reward him with higher wages and another year or two on his contract. Mignolet's original 2013 deal earns him £60,000 per week.
Goalkeeper Transfer Rumors
Of course, the rumor mill is constantly churning out new tidbits, and discussions about a new Mignolet contract have conflicted with other rumors that Liverpool could be seeking to sign a new goalkeeper in January.
Undoubtedly, manager Jurgen Klopp is going to have to dip into the transfer market in January for Liverpool to have a chance at qualifying for the Champions League in 2016. The football club has performed well since Klopp took over, but a slew of injuries have definitely prevented them from winning matches consistently. For example, in a January 2nd loss against West Ham United, Liverpool had to sideline the majority of their top players-including Daniel Sturridge, James Milner, Divock Origi, Danny Ings, Joe Gomez, and Jordan Henderson.
However, while Klopp is almost certain to hit the ground running now that the transfer market is open, the German manager has denied rumors that he will look for a new goalkeeper. The primary rumor had been that Liverpool would go after Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Klopp said he didn't plan on submitting a bid for ter Stegen and said that his club's goalkeeper situation "is absolutely okay." Klopp previously called Mignolet "one of the smartest goalkeepers I have ever worked with."
Given how thin the Liverpool football squad is looking in other parts of the lineup, it would be smart for Klopp to skip a goalkeeper even if he didn't have such confidence in Mignolet. Considering what Klopp has said about his starting goalkeeper since taking over at Anfield, it seems almost guaranteed that Liverpool will opt to revamp Mignolet's contract rather than signing a new keeper.
What do you think? Do you believe Mignolet deserves a better contract for his impressive clean sheet count in 2015? Or would you rather see another player wearing the Liverpool home goalkeeper shirt 2015/16? At Soccer Box, we want to hear your thoughts on the matter! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other popular social networks to share your thoughts.