ALEX Paulsen is keeping an open mind when it comes to how he will fit into Cherries’ plans next season, adding: “That hasn’t been finalised yet.”

The highly-rated goalkeeper became Cherries’ first signing of the summer, joining for an initial £850,000 from Wellington Phoenix.

It comes after a sensational breakout campaign for the 21-year-old, going from backup to being crowned the best goalkeeper in the A-League and also earning his first New Zealand cap.

Cherries’ goalkeeping department has already seen some change this summer, with Andrei Radu, Darren Randolph and Cameron Plain all departing, while Will Dennis is back from a loan spell at Kilmarnock.

Neto and Mark Travers remain on the books, as well as teenager Callan McKenna, who signed from Queen’s Park earlier this year.

Asked if Cherries have outlined where he will fit into the plans for 2024-25, Paulsen told the New Zealand Herald: “The four-year contract clearly shows that they are willing to have a plan for me to play in the English Premier League one day.

“Whether I start in the reserves or go out on loan, I’m up for those pathways.

“That hasn’t been finalised yet – we are still discussing it.”

Cherries were not the only club linked with Paulsen in recent months, with Liverpool and Chelsea also mentioned.

“It wasn’t just them – my agent referred other clubs on to me,” explained the 21-year-old.

“I get updated on clubs that are interested but I didn’t get into too much detail.

“I just tried to focus on my football.”

Put to him is move to the Premier League will be inspiring to young players in New Zealand, Paulsen said: “I’ve never really had that thought – I’ve just been focused on my football.

“I’ve tried my best to achieve every kid’s dream. First and foremost to get a professional contract and hopefully one day play in the Premier League.”

Asked if he has to pinch himself sometimes to take in the events of a whirlwind 12 months, the stopper said: “I wouldn’t say pinch myself, but I do reflect on it and try to celebrate each moment with my family as much as I can.

“It (a Premier League contract) was always a dream, but I didn’t realise it could come this quickly.

“I had belief but it needed a lot of hard work.

“I’ve got a lot of people to thank.

“I’m blessed and I wouldn’t be here without the support of teammates, family and everyone else involved.”

Paulsen is set to feature for his nation in this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.