There’s been rarely any window without Fraser Forster to Celtic rumours, and according to the Scottish Sun, the Hoops are once again plotting a loan move for the goalkeeper. However, they have to pay a big chunk of his £130,000-a-week salary this time around, unlike the previous term when they got away with paying only a fraction of that.
A giant between the sticks, Forster was instrumental in Celtic’s ninth successive Premiership triumph with 14 clean sheets in 28 league outings. Although the Bhoys were keen on retaining his services last year, the former England international decided to return to the south coast and fight for his place under Ralph Hasenhüttl.
Forster, however, spent yet another campaign as the understudy to Alex McCarthy and made only 13 appearances across competitions. At 33, he should opt for a first-team role for at least a couple of seasons more, and the Saints must not stand in his way if the demands are met by the Glasgow giants.
The veteran custodian has entered the final year of his contract and is unlikely to be handed an extension considering his high wages at St Mary’s. Southampton would prefer to clear the bills of their fringe stars and, therefore, should accept Celtic’s offer unless someone else pops up with a better deal.
Why Celtic Should Bring Back Forster To Restore Stability Between The Sticks
A £4.5m summer swoop for Vasilis Barkas did not work out for the Hoops. The ex-AEK Athens keeper was error-prone on a number of occasions, and he eventually lost his place to Scott Bain and Conor Hazard. The club need a stable option in goal, and the gaffer Ange Postecoglou is now rotating Barkas and Bain in pre-season friendlies to figure out his ‘number 1’.
They were handed 45 minutes each against Preston North End, and the Greece international pulled off a couple of early saves to keep it under control. Bain conceded a spot-kick which proved to be the difference between these two sides. The manager must now decide whether to rely on Barkas versus Midtjylland on Tuesday night. Barkas finished the recently concluded campaign behind Bain, and a howler in this crucial Champions League qualifier might prove decisive with little engagement in recent months.
Southampton, on the other hand, have parted ways with Angus Gunn. But they might promote Harry Lewis to their senior setup as the 23-year-old has been waiting patiently despite impressing with the reserves. Forster does not seem to have a future in Hampshire, and the familiar surroundings of Celtic would help him deliver instantly, particularly after multiple successful stints over the past 10 years. However, the question remains how this Celtic board would pay for most of his £130,000-a-week salary. That would definitely be the biggest stumbling block to getting a deal done.