Celtic will need to submit a separate transfer offer if they are to keep on-loan goalkeeper Fraser Forster beyond the end of this season.
The Southern Daily Echo reported that the loan deal for the 31-year-old, who joined the Hoops from Southampton in August on a season-long move (as per BBC), did not include an option to sign the England international permanently upon expiry of the loan next summer.
The Southern Daily Echo added that Mohamed Elyounoussi, another player on loan at Celtic from Southampton, is also set to return to St Mary’s in summer 2020 for the same reason.
If Forster’s intention upon linking up with Celtic for a second time (he was also at the club from 2010 to 2014) was to get regular gametime, his wish has been fulfilled so far.
He has started each of the Hoops’ last six Premiership games, as well as both Europa League group stage matches, with six goals conceded in those eight matches (0.75 per game) and three clean sheets (37.5% of games). [via TransferMarkt]
He has conceded in each of his last three Premiership appearances and let in two goals against Livingston in a 0-2 defeat, with his positioning for the second goal that day called into question by Mizgan Masani of Read Celtic.
However, Forster has pulled off two penalty saves already since rejoining the Hoops, denying Hearts’ Conor Washington and Kilmarnock’s Alan Power from the spot. [via TransferMarkt]
His arrival at the club spelled bad news for Scott Bain, who had been Neil Lennon’s first choice goalkeeper up to then.
The 27-year-old had started seven matches earlier in the season but has not featured since the Champions League play-off defeat to CFR Cluj. In those seven games, he let in nine goals (1.29 per game) and managed just two clean sheets (22.2% of games). [via TransferMarkt]
The numbers would suggest that Forster has been an upgrade on Bain, with the 31-year-old having a much lower concession rate and a better clean sheet percentage than his younger colleague.
If the on-loan Southampton man continues to provide a solid presence between the sticks, Celtic could face an important decision at the end of the season whether to launch a bid to buy him outright or concede defeat and let him go back to his parent club. On current form, the first option seems preferable.
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Celtic fans, do you think the club should try to sign Forster outright if he keeps up his current form? Should they have had an option to buy him in place before agreeing to the loan deal? Have your say by commenting below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!