Celtic have reportedly shortlisted three goalkeepers this summer in case they fail to complete a permanent deal for Fraser Forster in the coming months – and Forster himself has admitted he learned from one of those three.
Neil Lennon has made it clear he will do everything to keep 32-year-old Forster at Celtic this summer, after the Southampton goalkeeper starred for the Hoops in his return to the club – keeping 17 clean sheets in 39 games, conceding only 28 times.
However, Forster has a contract at Southampton until the summer of 2022 – meaning the Saints will require a transfer fee. Spotrac claim that Southampton also pay Forster a whopping £70,000 a week, far beyond Celtic’s financial means.
Even if Celtic put all their muscle into landing Forster, Southampton can easily price the Scottish champions out of a move – and Forster himself may be against taking a pay cut. That is why Celtic have reportedly shortlist a number of other stoppers.
Chilean outlet The Times have claimed Watford stopper Ben Foster and Manchester City’s Premier League winner Claudio Bravo are options, with both out of contract. Joe Hart is also an option on a free, with his Burnley contract due to expire.
Pep Guardiola’s arrival at Manchester City saw Hart’s career decline. Loan moves to Torino and West Ham saw Hart struggle, before he joined Burnley. Now out of contract, the 75-time England international is looking for a new club.
Back in 2013, Forster told the Daily Record that Hart is “fantastic”, and that he was learning from the then-Manchester City goalkeeper during the duo’s time together in the England squad.
“He’s proven time and time again what a fantastic keeper he is. I’ve picked up things from working with him. You take bits of knowledge from players like that. You try to incorporate it into your game.”
TBR’s view – Forster is first choice, and Hart should be second choice
Forster knows what it means to be Celtic. The Geordie goalkeeper is a fan favourite and has proved time and time again that he can cope with the pressure of being a key figure of an all-conquering Celtic side.
But if Celtic cannot sign Forster, 33-year-old Hart has got to be signed by the Hoops. Yes, Hart has struggled in recent seasons but class is permanent, and if he is given the confidence and trust to shine, he will begin to claw back that excellent form.