By Noel Whelan

4th Nov, 2019 | 2:12pm

Exclusive: Celtic tipped to sign England international next year by ex-striker pundit

Celtic have been tipped to sign Fraser Forster permanently from Southampton at the end of the season.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider editor Wayne Veysey, ex-Aberdeen, Livingston and Dunfermline striker Noel Whelan believes Forster’s relationship with Neil Lennon is key to a full-time deal.

Forster has made a big impression in his second spell at Parkhead since signing on a season-long loan from the Saints in August.

Football Insider revealed the giant goalkeeper is “very keen” to move permanently back to Celtic although his £70,000-a-week Premier League wages represent a major hurdle to overcome.

“He’s likely to go permanently to Celtic rather than back to England,” Whelan told Football Insider. “Forster has a great relationship with Neil Lennon, who has brought him back to the club where he had his best years.

“Lennon trusts him totally and knows how to get the best out of him. That’s key for any footballer.

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“Forster has not lost any of his quality. Goalkeepers can go on playing until they are 40 if they stay fit. 

“He has been an excellent keeper for a number of years and could be back in the England squad soon. Well played Neil Lennon for going out and signing him on loan.”

Forster has made 12 appearances for the Hoops since his return, keeping six clean sheets and conceding just nine goals, two of which came in Saturday’s Scottish League Cup semi-final win over Hibernian.

His grip on the number one jersey is set to face strong competition from Scott Bain, who is close to recovering from a dislocated figure sustained in August.

Celtic demonstrated their faith in the Scotland number one by handing him a new four-year contract last week.

In other Celtic news, it can be REVEALED that the club have agreed the terms of a £5million-plus deal.