Southampton chief executive Martin Semmens’ comments on player contracts could be a positive for Celtic.
The recent shutdown of football in Britain has led to real uncertainty over the future of players who are out of contract at the end of the season. There are no guarantees that clubs will be able to finish the campaign with those players still at their clubs.
Celtic have two particular stars on their hands that belong to Southampton. Both Fraser Forster and Mohamed Elyounoussi could need to leave Parkhead before the season ends. Depending on how the global health crisis develops, there are no guarantees on anything at the moment.
But speaking to the BBC about player contracts, Southampton chief Semmens doesn’t see any real problems regarding short-term extensions:
“We hope to get the league done by the end of June. As soon as you go past that date, there are legal challenges.
“If we ended up playing until 15 July and you had to extend a player’s contract by two weeks, convincing a player to play two more weeks of football and get paid nicely to do it – I don’t believe that will be a substantial challenge.
“The challenge is making sure we don’t have a knock-on effect to other seasons and make football compromised for years to come.”
Southampton could be simple to deal with
If this is the view being held by Semmens, then it could be the case that both Forster and Elyounoussi’s deals are easy to extend.
This is, after all, the man Celtic and Peter Lawwell will have to deal with to extend our loan stars’ deals. Yet he seems to think that it’s going to be a simple process for clubs to extend contracts for a few weeks if necessary.
If that’s the case, it’s more likely that Saints will be easy to deal with when it comes to Forster and Elyounoussi. It could just be a case of asking Saints whether we can extend the contracts for a few weeks and seeing what they say.
Of course, nobody knows whether Forster and Elyounoussi can stay regardless. If the Premiership manages to finish before June 30th, this may not be a problem. But it looks as though things will be straightforward with Saints if we have to play games after that point.
And looking at it from Saints’ side, why wouldn’t you want to extend the deals? It’s not as if both Forster and Elyounoussi would suddenly be thrown into their plans for the final few weeks of the season. They wouldn’t even be registered for action in any case.
Meanwhile, you would have both players surely wanting to finish what they started in Glasgow. The further you think about this scenario, the less we seemingly have to worry about it.