Former Scotland international Alan Hutton has not minced his words when discussing the situation surrounding a potential permanent move to Celtic for on-loan goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
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That development has angered Hutton, who accused the English Premier League club of interfering with Forster’s career and denying him a chance to move on.
He told Football Insider: “There’s no way Celtic will be able to pay that for a goalkeeper. And the thing that annoys me the most about this situation, it even happened with Aston Villa and Tyrone Mings as well, is that his club let him go because they deemed him surplus to requirements.
“The player then flourishes with the team that they went to, and the team that didn’t want them then pumps up their value, so you’re only affecting the player.
“You’re stopping him from moving on with his career just because he went off and done well off his own back.
“So I don’t really like it, I think the best thing is for a price tag to be agreed beforehand, so you go out on loan for a year with a view to a permanent for say like £8million.
“I think it just ends up being unfair on the player as your club puts up your price too high. And I feel for him a bit as it’s a tough situation to be in.”
Hutton makes a fair point when he talks about Forster being a victim of opportunism from Southampton, who were happy enough to let him leave just four months ago.
If Celtic wish to sign him permanently, they would either need to meet his current £70,000-a-week wage from Southampton or persuade him to take a significant pay cut, with Scott Sinclair being one of the Hoops’ best-paid players on £30,000-a-week before tax (as per Daily Record).
Also, the Saints’ valuation of £25m is one that the Scottish champions would likely struggle to meet, given that their record outlay for an incoming transfer is the £9m paid to Odsonne Edouard in 2018 (as per BBC).
Forster has been in superb form during his loan spell at Celtic, making a series of fine saves against Rangers in last weekend’s Betfred Cup final victory while also excelling against Lazio in the Europa League.
He has conceded just 13 goals in 20 appearances for the Hoops this season (0.65 per game) and kept nine clean sheets (45% of games), as per TransferMarkt.
Plus, as reported by Football Insider, he has expressed a desire to remain at Parkhead beyond the expiry of his current loan deal at the end of the season.
Southampton neglected Forster while he was at St Mary’s, giving him only one appearance last season. Now that he is thriving at Celtic, the Saints’ sudden spiking of his transfer value seems like an attempt to thwart the Hoops from buying him outright and prevent the player from getting the move that he wants. Therefore, it’s understandable why Hutton feels Southampton’s stance has left a bad taste.
Celtic fans, do you agree with Hutton’s views on Forster’s situation? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!
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