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Is Fraser Forster Set For A Return !
Wednesday, 1st Jul 2020 11:33

The media in Scotland have been seemingly talking about nothing else other than Fraser Forster signing for Celtic next season, now they are still talking about his return, only they are now claiming he is set to return to the Saints squad.

In an ideal World Fraser Forster would be signing for Celtic, Saints need to get his wages off the books and they are keen to avoid a repeat of the 2019/20 season loan to Celtic where effectively they were paying perhaps half of his wages each week in a deal that although reducing the wage bill at St Mary's was a better one for Celtic than Saints.

The last month or so has seen many reports about Forster's future, but what is becoming clear is that Celtic do not have the money to do the deal, they may be a Scottish Superclub, but in European terms they do not have the financial clout despite a massive supporter base.

Each day has brought a different rumour, a permanent move, a swap deal with Olivier Ntcham and another loan deal, but the latest media report suggests that Saints, not having considered any of the options to be satisfactory other than an outright transfer to Celtic which seems to be not viable, are now considering keeping Forster.

It cannot be argued that Saints have goalkeeping issues, Angus Gunn has looked promising at times but suffered from being a youngster inexperienced at Premier League level playing in front of a kamikaze defence who could not organise or mark . He needs to either play in front of a good defence at Saints or get that experience out on loan.

Alex McCarthy does produce the odd decent game or two, but ultimately is a back up keeper who has spent 90% of his career as number 2, Saints goalkeeping coaching staff will not have been happy with the three goals conceded in the last two games, one goal was a glaring error, but they will have noticed flaws in the other two goals conceded, the second against Arsenal saw him fail to either hold what was a straight forward shot or failing that get it out of the danger area and the Watford goal saw him fail to command his box, many would not consider it a glaring error.

But at Premier League level you expect more from your keeper and it was symptomatic of Saints defending, Bednarek had to go for the cross because he had no shout from his keeper who was diving to meet the ball, if he had the call then he could have left it and the keeper have dealt with it, if McCarthy had held his lie then he had a good chance of saving the deflected cross.

But the cracks were appearing before the lockdown, in the penultimate game he failed to gather a simple cross to gift the West Ham a goal and their have been other incidents.

Fraser Forster has regained his confidence at Celtic and undoubtedly in terms of ability and experience is streets ahead of both McCarthy and Gunn.

So reports from Scotland are suggesting that the deal is dead and that Saints are going to reinstate Forster to their goalkeeping roster.

If that was to happen it is unclear where that would leave either McCarthy or Gunn, there are two options, the first is to keep McCarthy and loan out Gunn to get the experience he needs, indeed there is even talk that Gunn could go to Celtic for the year the other is to keep Gunn as back up and let McCarthy go.

So it seems that unless they get Forster away permanently then Saints are ready to put Forster back in the team.

Of course this could be Saints calling the bluff of both Celtic and Forster himself, the big keeper is on big money on Saints and with two years left of his contract and Celtic being said to be able to offer only around a third of his current £85k a week salary, it would be a big hit for him to take .

Celtic are starting to get desperate, the Scottish season is due to start on 1st August and Celtic have already let last seasons back up Craig Gordon go, with just over 4 weeks to go they have no goalkeeper.

So something needs to happen soon up at Parkhead, they have to do a deal with Saints or look elsewhere with Joe Hart already linked.

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highfield49 added 12:02 - Jul 1
Am I correct in saying that Harry Lewis's contract has expired or has it been extended? If he's been allowed to leave then that might give some weight to the Forster return stories. That said, sticking with the subject in hand, it would be a good time to give FF some game time when there are no negative comments coming from the seated areas. I think he is still a very good player but it can be really tough for a keeper exposed to all the groans and jeers from some supporters in expectation of failure. Give him a go in place of McCarthy, who may be mentally tougher but not as good a player.

SaintNick added 12:35 - Jul 1
Good points about the mental aspects of being a keeper

WestSussexSaint added 13:41 - Jul 1
It seems playing in front of Scottish league strikers is the perfect confidence boost for goalies so let’s send McCarthy and Gunn north of the boarder and Fraser comes back to be Saints no 1.

sandywelsh added 13:56 - Jul 1
Would Fraser Forster be able to play for Saints in their last few games? What are the chances of getting Nathaniel Clyne back now he has left Liverpool?

NewburySaint added 14:01 - Jul 1
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with Gunn because, to be fair, if he’s always playing in front of the defence he’s never gonna make a good GK!!

dirk_doone added 14:29 - Jul 1
Great news! He's the best goalkeeper we've had in recent years and he was superb at Celtic. Now that Dave Watson is no longer our goalkeeper coach, I think Forster will be back to his best for us too.

beynali73 added 14:30 - Jul 1
I'd be in favour of recalling FF into the team as first choice if this is within the league rules - after all he is the better keeper of the 3 we already have and his return to form should mean his confidence is high.

RedandWight added 14:39 - Jul 1
NewburySaint I too am slightly alarmed at the thought of our keeper playing in front of the back four!

KriSaint added 16:08 - Jul 1
When ever FF has had his debut og post injury return for Saints he has had 5 or 6 clean sheets in a row, as I recall it.
He is also best friends with JWP, so why not bring back the big man, I say.

saintpete01 added 06:50 - Jul 2
Joe Heart
To join Celtic

underweststand added 14:30 - Jul 2
Young keepers..and centre backs take time to mature. Whilst you can field a teenager in midfield , or even as a striker, young goalies need more time. Angus Gunn..and Harry Lewis are typical examples of good prospects who need to be branded " one for the future", as long as you can get them good loan outs where they perform well.
Gunn had a good spell on loan at Norwich ?) before he signed for us, but clearly his PL games for Saints were far from satisfactory. He needs more time to develop.

MU loaned out Dean Henderson to the Blades for a season or two, and IMHO both Lewis and Gunn need more chances at a lower level, before becoming our "regular no.2" .
They will either improve.. or eventually end up as a Championship-level keeper.

As for Forster (which is where this thread began), I think this is all (agent/ club sales talk).
YES - if FF were back here and still sitting on the bench at £70 k week it would be a waste of money, and hamper future career /transfer prospects . but a top six Prem.side wouldn't blink at his salary or the chance to have someone like him as a reserve.

My guess ; one or both Gunn and Lewis will go out on loan. Forster will "finally" be transferred somewhere , and Saints will sign an experienced (and probably foreign) keeper as a back up for Alex McCarthy until one of those (above) gets a better standard.

SanMarco added 15:14 - Jul 2
I think it is a bit unfair to blame McCarthy for the Watford goal.

FF on his best form is far superior to any other keeper now at the club. So the big unknown is whether he really has returned to that form. I would be in favour of us finding out because McCathy's casual attitude to distribution is not good for my heart.

underweststand added 11:04 - Jul 3
A quick re-think suggests that Ralph might well play FF..... in the next three games.

All of them look to be a challenge - in their own way - and if he is to be considered as a potential no.1 , then here is the challenge. Not an enviable task you may say, but looking at the way Man.City dissected LIverpool last night there can be few better chances to see what he is capable of, as Alex McCarthy has done a good job in very difficult circumstances in recent months, and another Leicester style result would certainly dent his confidence badly..
I liked Forster when he played well, but he "lost it " after the 5-2 defeat by Spurs at Wembley and never recovered his confidence. If we are to keep him, then it's a perfect time to judge his ability - if not - a few top six clubs should be glad to have him on their bench and would be able to handle his salary issue without too much problem.

FF "claims " he wants to come back and "fight for his place " ..(where have i heard that phrase before ?)....but if he is to be a serious candidate Ralph now has the chance to judge his performances before finalising his squad for next season.

Whatsforpud added 12:07 - Jul 3
Has everyone forgotten that, for a tall man he was very reluctant to come out for crosses. Also his height seemed to be a problem in getting down quickly enough for wide ground shots.

underweststand added 08:51 - Jul 4
to Whatsforpud......you are correct in your assessment of FF, but everyone has their faults and sa I recall ...Peter Shilton wasn't always so good with ground shots either...!

I stand by my original post. Forster is costing us £70K a week (more by one estimate) and if we are considering keeping him until the end of his contract... then we need to see him perform against quality opposition, and give Ralph a chance to make a sensible decision.

Whatever the outcome - at the moment we are totally dependent on McCarthy as our only experienced keeper, and so it's either keeping him permanently, or bringing in a good safe custodian ..from somewhere.

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