In the summer one of Celtic’s main aims was clear, keep Fraser Forster at the club.
The former England international had just enjoyed a stellar season back at Parkhead on loan from Southampton after dropping down the pecking order at St Mary’s.
Indeed, it seemed everything was done. According to The Sun, Celtic had agreed another season-long loan deal with an option to buy next summer.
Neil Lennon clearly wanted the deal done, the Celtic boss telling Sky Sports he would ‘dearly love’ to bring Forster back for another season.
In the end, Celtic did not manage to get a deal done. As confirmed by Southampton CEO Martin Semmens to BBC Radio Solent in August, Forster decided to stick around at Southampton and fight for his place in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team.
The Sun suggested Forster would have gone if a permanent transfer could have been ironed out between Celtic and Southampton. The Scottish Sun later reported that Southampton wanted a £5 million fee for a permanent move – which proved too costly for the Scottish side.
Right now, not convincing Forster to stick around is looking like a major missed opportunity from Celtic’s recruitment team.
Vassilis Barkas arrived as his replacement and, so far, the Greek stopper has failed to have the impact Forster managed in his second spell in Paradise.
Meanwhile, Forster has gone back to where many assumed he would, playing second fiddle on the South Coast.
If Celtic had paid the asking price, it seems Forster would have been happy to make a permanent return to Glasgow and based on the form of Barkas so far, it could be balking at a £5 million asking price might have been an error.
Hopefully, the Greek talent will come good in time, but right now Celtic must be rueing not getting this deal over the line.