FRASER FORSTER is on the brink of being priced out of a dramatic return to Celtic on a permanent basis, as CQN reported early last month.
The Hoops fans’ favourite still has two years of a lucrative contract – believed to be a basic £90,000-per-week – to run and it appears the cash-strapped south coast club are NOT willing to allow the keeper to come to Glasgow for a second successive loan season.
The Saints prised the towering shotstopper from Parkhead in August 2014 for a massive £10million, but things turned sour for the six times-capped England No.1 a couple of seasons ago when he dropped to third in the pecking order behind Alex McCarthy and Angus Gunn.
Forster, 32, has been priced at £5million by the Saints who want the player off the pay roll, according to a report in the Scottish Sun.
The nine-in-a-row champions picked up a percentage of his wages last term, reckoned to be circa £40,000 per week, and were willing to put a similar deal together for the crucial upcoming campaign.
Forster travelled back to have crunch talks with St Mary’s boss Ralph Hasenhuttl and the club chiefs yesterday.
In fact, the Hoops hierarchy believed they had struck an agreement in principle with their Saints counterparts for a further year’s temporary transfer.
However, all indications are that the proposed switch is off – for the time being, anyway.
Boss Neil Lennon is now faced with the dilemma of waiting patiently to see how things develop from the English end of things – or making a move for a replacement.
Scott Bain remains the only experienced netminder on the club’s book following Craig Gordon’s departure and subsequent two-year deal with his former club Hearts.
Lennon has been linked with ex-England star Joe Hart, who is a free agent after leaving Burnley, and ex-Hoops No.1 David Marshall, who is currently with Championship side Wigan.
Back-up to Bain at the moment comes in the shape of untried youngsters Conor Hazard and Ross Doohan.
The Celtic manager faces a race against time with the Premiership season due to kick off on August 1.