FORMER Celtic fans’ favourite Fraser Forster could be on the look-out for a new club before the transfer deadline in 13 days’ time.
The six times-capped England international keeper, who was a key man in the Hoops’ ninth successive title triumph and was Man of the Match when they lifted the Betfred League Cup, appears to have no future at Southampton.
Forster was on the substitutes’ bench again at the weekend when the south coast club were hammered 5-2 by Spurs as they toppled to their second consecutive Premier League defeat.
Alex McCarthy is the man in charge of the gloves, but boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is making moves to bring in ex-England No.1 Jack Butland who has been frozen out at Stoke City.
The 27-year-old netminder, who was once rated in the £20million bracket and has played nine times for his country, last turned out for Michael O’Neill’s side in last season’s 5-0 loss to Leeds United at Elland Road. Adam Davies took over and has remained in place for the new campaign.
Now Butland is being lined up for a switch to Hasenhuttl’s outfit with Angus Gunn, 24, bought by ex-gaffer Mark Hughes for £13.5million from Manchester City on a five-year contract in July 2018, heading in the opposite direction is a straight swap, according to English media reports.
That will see 32-year-old Forster slip to No.3 in the pecking order at Saints and that is likely to see him head out on a season-long loan to get game-time.
It looked as though the skyscraper shotstopper was on the brink of a return to Parkhead in the summer, especially when Craig Gordon was allowed to leave at the end of his contract to rejoin Hearts.
When it became obvious that comeback was not going to materialise, Neil Lennon, with only Scott Bain as a custodian with first-team experience, splashed £4.5million to sign Greek international Vasilis Barkas from AEK Athens on a four-year deal.
Forster still has two years on a £90,000-per-week contract at Southampton to run, but if Butland arrives on a permanent deal it looks as though he has played his last game for the club.