Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster turned down the chance to return to Celtic during the summer, with the Englishman taking the gamble that he would be able to force his way back into the Saints side.
Forster spent last season out on loan with Celtic, where he helped the Scottish giants claim a ninth successive league title and produced some memorable performances during the early stages of their UEFA Europa League campaign. That came after he had fallen behind both Angus Gunn and Alex McCarthy in the pecking order.
First-team chances looking slim
It had been reported that Southampton were willing to allow either Forster or Gunn to leave the club during the latter stages of the summer transfer window, per the Daily Mail. However, in the end, it was Gunn who left the club, moving to Stoke City on a season-long loan deal.
Celtic had been keen to offer Forster another route out of Southampton in the summer. It has now emerged that Lennon had tried to convince the keeper to make the move back to the club to help them secure a place in history by winning a tenth successive league title. However, the 32-year-old decided to remain at Saints and hope to beat McCarthy to the number one spot, per Daily Record.
It looks unlikely that Forster will get that opportunity, with McCarthy having started all Southampton’s league matches and their Carabao Cup defeat against Brentford. That suggests that the Englishman will be relying on an injury to get a chance to feature.
Forster should regret missed opportunity
Forster has already helped Celtic achieve titles in pursuit of ten in a row, with the keeper having left the Scottish giants for Southampton back in 2014. Harry Redknapp even described him as ‘world-class’ during his first spell with the club. He impressed on his return to the Hoops last term, picking up 14 clean sheets in the league in 28 appearances (Transfermarkt).
It, therefore, feels like a wasted opportunity for him not to have returned. The 32-year-old is reliable backup for the Saints, but considering he is on a contract worth around £70,000-a-week (Spotrac), he should be going playing regularly. He still has another two years to run on that deal so he could have to now settle for being a backup for the next two campaigns.
In other news, find out which ‘superb’ international player Southampton are eyeing up a January move for here.
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