Dave Watson has emerged as Saints’ number one contender to be the club’s new goalkeeping coach.

The highly regarded former Barnsley stopper has been identified by the club as the perfect replacement for Toni Jimenez, who left for Tottenham along with Mauricio Pochettino.

If Watson’s appointment is confirmed, he is also sure to have a significant impact on the choice of the new goalkeeper Ronald Koeman is expected to bring in. The new Saints boss has made a new keeper one of his top priorities in the transfer market this summer.

The 40-year-old Watson has plenty of experience as a goalkeeping coach having had two spells with Northampton and stints with Oldham, Huddersfield, Nottingham Forest, Birmingham and Norwich, from where he is expected to join Saints.

He has also worked extensively with the England squad and has been praised for helping the likes of Joe Hart, Ben Foster and Jack Butland.

Koeman brought in two members of staff with him – his brother Erwin and Jan Kluitenberg – and is understood to have given his seal of approval to the appointment of Watson and Sammy Lee.

Saints will boast a coaching staff buoyed by former FA employees.

Executive director Les Reed, the FA’s former technical director, will have overseen the arrivals of Martin Hunter, Lee and Watson as Saints strengthen their back room numbers ahead of the new campaign.