KRIS COMMONS insists his former team-mate Fraser Forster would sign a permanent deal at Celtic “in a heartbeat”.
The ex-Hoops midfielder had a close-up view of the qualities of the towering keeper when both were at Parkhead before Southampton splashed £10million to lure the last line of defence back across the border in 2014.
However, Forster dropped to third in the pecking order last term and was delighted to sign a season-long loan with his old club in August.
The six-times capped England international has been in phenomenal form for Neil Lennon’s side – including a defiant display in the Betfred League Cup Final success this month – and there has been a clamour for the 31-year-old to remain at the club on a long-term deal.
Commons, now a media pundit after leaving the champions in 2017, believes both parties are keen on an agreement, although the player’s enormous wages will be an obvious problem plus the south coast club will be looking for a transfer fee for Forster who is under contract until June 2022.
The ex-Scotland playmaker, writing in his Daily Mail column yesterday, insisted: “It would send shock waves through Scottish football if Celtic could clinch a deal to sign Fraser Forster permanently. It would be a blockbuster signing and a huge statement of intent from the club. It should be a matter of urgency to get it done as soon as possible.
“The stumbling block isn’t necessarily the transfer fee. Celtic have shown with the likes of Odsonne Edouard and Christopher Jullien that they don’t mind spending a few quid on the right player.
“The issue has always been the fact that they just can’t match Forster’s basic wage at Southampton, which is in the region of £70,000 per week. But it’s my understanding that Celtic are hopeful of structuring a deal to make it happen.”
Commons admitted Forster would be happy to spend the rest of his career at Parkhead and would sign a long-term deal “in a heartbeat”.
The fans’ favourite showed his joy after his Hampden heroics following the 1-0 success over Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side a couple of weekends ago with a performance that also included a dramatic penalty-kick save from Alfredo Morelos only three minutes after Jullien had hit the eventual matchwinner on the hour mark.
He beamed: “This is one of the reasons I came back to this club.”
Forster’s stand-by Craig Gordon, who will be 37 at the turn of the year, is out of contract in June and has hinted at moving on to get game-time.
Scott Bain, who started the campaign as the No.1 shotstopper before injuring a hand in the 4-3 Champions League exit against Cluj in August, recently signed an extension which will keep him at the Hoops until 2023.