Celtic look set to secure a deal that will see goalkeeper Fraser Forster join the club on loan for the entire 2020/21 season.
A source has exclusively told Read Celtic that he expects the Englishman to spend next season on loan with the Hoops and that Southampton are looking to resolve the goalkeeper’s future as soon as possible so they can put their own transfer plans in place.
The specifics of the deal still need to be resolved, but our source says that Celtic will pay a loan fee to the Saints and that the Premier League side will also contribute a significant chunk of his £70,000-a-week wages.
Although there is a loan move agreed in principle, one of the discussions that is still taking place is about the inclusion of an option that would allow Celtic to buy the goalkeeper next summer.
Before looking to complete deals for any other players, Celtic have been keen to make sure they could keep Forster next season, with our source telling us that keeping the goalkeeper was Neil Lennon’s top priority.
However, there are two hurdles regarding such an option. Firstly, both Celtic and Southampton are struggling to agree what the future transfer fee will be as neither club knows how the market is going to react to the current global pandemic.
This is a dilemma that is impacting a significant amount of possible transfer moves for clubs in England, with a number of deals that were agreed in principle now in serious doubt as clubs wait to see how their finances will be impacted by behind-closed-doors football and the possible requests to pay back some money to TV broadcasters.
The second sticking point relates to the player’s wages. Forster is contracted to Saints on his £70,000-a-week deal until 2022 and that is a salary that Celtic simply cannot afford to pay.
Therefore, Forster may need to agree to a future pay-cut or Saints will need to agree to pay some of those wages even if they sell the player.
There is, of course, still a possibility that Forster will join Celtic on loan for the season with no option-to-buy, which would allow all parties to reassess the situation next summer when they all have a better idea of their own finances.
Either way, our source expects the loan move to be completed by the end of this week as there’s a willingness from all three parties to get a deal over the line.