Celtic chiefs are willing to fund a new swoop for Fraser Forster in January but they know it will be an uphill battle to prise him from Southampton.
The 6ft 7in goalkeeper has not had a single minute of first-team action for the Premier League club this season and been forced to play second fiddle to Alex McCarthy.
A Celtic source has told Football Insider that the board will provide the funds to Neil Lennon to try and lure Forster on a new loan deal after releasing a statement last night to reveal his job is safe until the new year.
But they recognise that Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl will only let him go if he can get a replacement in.
A permanent deal is almost out of the question for Celtic as Forster is on a contract worth nearly £100,000-a-week.
Lennon tried to re-sign the former England international in the summer window after his outstanding 2019-20 campaign on loan.
A season-long deal was in place, and the finances had been agreed between the clubs, but Forster was reluctant to commit as he felt he could regain the number one spot at St Mary’s.
The Hoops subsequently signed Vasilis Barkas in a £5million deal but he struggled before being dropped in favour of Scott Bain.
Celtic have struggled without Forster’s dominant presence in goal and Lennon would love to lure him back to Parkhead as Rangers threaten to walk away with the title.
There are plenty of hurdles to overcome as Hasenhuttl wants top-quality cover and competition for McCarthy after allowing Angus Gunn to join Stoke City on loan in October.
McCarthy, 30, is the number one at Southampton as he is more comfortable with the ball at his feet and building from the back in Hasenhuttl’s playing style.
He has started all 11 of the Saints’ Premier League matches this season as well as their one League Cup tie.