It seems like a lifetime ago but you only have to go back four years to the point where Fraser Forster waved goodbye to the Celtic fans.
The unknown goalkeeper from Newcastle reserves, unearthed by John Park and Neil Lennon has to be one of the major success stories of the Lennon era.
Coming in on-loan with no reputation to headlining papers across the globe the night Celtic silenced a Barcelona side at the peak of its power – it has to be said, we loved big Fraser or as the Spaniards call him ‘La Gran Muralla’ (The Great Wall).
When Celtic’s bargain buys come up, you hear the usual of Henrik Larsson (£750k), Lubo Moravcik (200k), Didier Agathe (50k) and rightly so. However, there has to be a wee pocket in there for Fraser Forster.
Two consecutive loan spells followed by a purchase of £2.25million – the goalkeeper played 197 times for the club, amassing 101 clean sheets, it would have been 102 if it wasn’t for that pesky Messi, three league titles, two Scottish Cups oh and a red card at Ibrox but no harm done – Broony saved the day! (Stats from TransferMarkt)
On 22 February 2014 the goalkeeper went into the Scottish history books, not conceding a goal for 1,155 minutes beat Bobby Clark’s record.
He then went on to make Celtic a large chunk of change when he transferred to Southampton for £11.25million.
Why do we bring all of this up? Well, two reasons.
- It’s the anniversary of that special night where Celtic beat Barcelona 2-1 on the 125th anniversary of the club.
- He’s doing absolutely NOTHING at Southampton and quite frankly we want him back!
Since a dismal first half of the season last term, the goalkeeper was benched in favour of Alex McCarthy who has held down the position since.
The St Mary’s club then put Forster further down the pecking order by bringing Angus Gunn into the club over the summer.
The 30-year-old is now a training ground fixture only and has little chance of getting back into the Southampton side.
It was only the summer of 2017 when the Keeper signed a new five-year deal with the club but everything has gone south quite quickly after that.
Fraser had an impressive start to his Southampton career but a patella rupture in March 2015 seen the player miss 10 months of football which hasn’t helped him progress as much as he’d have liked.
His overall Premier League record reads; Clean sheets: 37 Appearances: 106.
Southampton look keen to offload him and with Craig Gordon not getting any younger it would be absolutely criminal if Celtic didn’t explore trying to re-sign the big man.
Of course, he had his flaws but as an out and out shot-stopper, commanding figure and the heart to win and fight – he has all the credentials to be a top goalkeeper again.
Brendan Rodgers has already shown with Craig Gordon that he’s willing to sacrifice having a proper ball playing goalkeeper for someone who can win you games with his natural goalkeeping ability – Forster has those same instincts.
Not that we’re trying to push Craig Gordon out the door, but at the age of 35 and having come back from a few bad injuries, he’s not going to be around forever.
If anything, its a signing target Lee Congerton would love! Someone who the club already knows on the British isles.
We hope he reads CeltsArehere.com!