English journalist Alex Crook has been talking about the effect the current health crisis has had on South coast clubs, and in the process provided some positive news for Celtic.
As we all know, so much is currently up in the air regarding the future of the game. Outside of UEFA demanding that all domestic competitions be completed before June 30th (Daily Record), there’s not much else that’s been clarified about Scottish football’s future.
That means that the future of those on loan contracts is also debatable. It could be the case that players with loan deals actually end up leaving their club before the campaign officially ends. Celtic are in that situation with Fraser Forster and Mohamed Elyounoussi.
However, TalkSPORT journalist Alex Crook was on with Jim White this morning and touched on how Southampton feel about the two Celtic men’s situation (TalkSPORT, 19/03, 12:05).
“Neil Lennon has come out and said we really need them to stay to the end of the season whenever that may be.
“Because they are both under contract Southampton are pretty relaxed about that. If they have to extend their loans I think they will so that’s good news for Celtic.”
Monumental boost to Celtic’s morale if both men stay
This is fantastic news. Obviously it’s without official confirmation from Southampton themselves. However, if push comes to shove and their loan deals need extended, it looks likely we can trust the Premier League club to play ball here.
This is particularly vital with regards to Forster’s situation. Not just because he’s been our first-choice throughout the entire campaign, but because if he was to depart then Celtic would be in huge trouble regarding the goalkeeping position.
With Craig Gordon’s contract up at the end of May (Transfermarkt), he could also be away before the season ends. Losing Forster too would’ve left us with only Scott Bain available from the senior ranks.
In Elyounoussi’s case it’s a bit different. He’s at least in competition with the likes of Greg Taylor, Boli Bolingoli, Daniel Arzani, and Jonny Hayes down the left. There are still plenty of options if he was to head back to Saints. He also hasn’t been a first-choice all season either, with only 20 appearances to his name this term (Transfermarkt).
If the season is to end with games being played between now and the end of June, this is massive for us. Both Elyounoussi and Forster’s deals at Parkhead will likely end at some stage in June. Extending it that bit further would be golden for our hopes of a quadruple treble.
It remains to be seen if Southampton follow up on this should the season be extended. For now, however, this is some positive news in a period seriously lacking it.