Ralph Hasenhuttl's comments still leaves Celtic-Forster deal a long way off

By David Walton

December 15, 2020

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl may have opened the door for his fringe players to depart, but any Celtic deal for Fraser Forster is still a long way off.

There seems to have been a wee bit of excitement this evening as comments emerged from the Premier League boss that appeared to leave the door open for Forster to leave in January.

Speaking as quoted by The Herald, Hasenhuttl said: “It seems rapid that the next transfer window comes – it seems like yesterday I spoke about the last one, which was closed a little bit later.

“I am never scared of any transfer window because this is the way we go. When we are performing well and other clubs are coming wanting to take our players and give you the money you want, you always discuss it.

“We are never a club at the end of the highest in Europe, we never will be. But we are also not a selling club. If it’s necessary we have to. If players do not extend their contracts and are free, they have to go, they go.”

A stretch to believe Hasenhuttl is talking about Fraser

Yes, he’s left the window open for clubs to make a bid for Southampton’s out-of-favour players. Forster does fall into that category. But Hasenhuttl hasn’t mentioned anything about how much they would be after, and didn’t even mention Forster directly.

He also talks about letting players go who won’t extend their contracts or are available to leave on a free. Forster’s contract at St Mary’s runs until 2022, so it’s not as if there will be any rush to push him out the door down there.

Remember, it was Forster who rejected us back in the summer, or at least that’s how Southampton CEO Martin Semmens explained it (BBC). If Forster was allowed to leave, he would likely find another Premier League club and that would be that.

Fraser Forster at Southampton (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

Yes, there’s a signal of intent from Hasenhuttl here to let go some of their reserve players, but that’s all it is. It’s nothing major and it’s still clear any deal for Fraser remains some way away.

It’s also worth taking into consideration that Forster plays in a special position as a goalkeeper. No club wants to lose a goalkeeper of his experience and quality, especially in January. Even if he hasn’t played a minute of action this season, he’s still their first-choice reserve. If anything happens to Alex McCarthy then Forster would likely be called upon given he’s consistently on their bench.

So it’s important not to get too excited here. Should Saints accept an offer from Celtic next month, then we can start cranking up the buzz levels. For now, however, there’s absolutely no concrete evidence that the Premier League boss wants rid of Forster.

In other news, we discuss how Dermot Desmond missed a massive opportunity this week.