By Wayne Veysey

10th Nov, 2020 | 7:00am

Revealed: Celtic hopes of signing Fraser Forster in January dwindle

Celtic face an extremely difficult battle to prise Fraser Forster from Southampton in January even though he has not had a minute of first-team action this season.

The 6ft 7in goalkeeper has had to play second fiddle to Alex McCarthy at high-flying Saints, who are fourth in the Premier League during the international break.

But a recruitment source has told Football Insider that a combination of Forster’s extraordinary Southampton contract and the English team’s need to replace him if he were to leave make a Celtic January swoop “unlikely” at this stage.

Celtic have struggled to cope without their 2019-20 loan star, who was absolutely integral to last season’s Scottish Premiership and Scottish League Cup triumphs.

Neil Lennon’s side signed Vasilis Barkas in a £5million summer deal but he has been dropped in favour of Scott Bain for the last five matches after starting the season in goal.

Ten-in-a-row chasing Celtic face their biggest title challenge in a decade due to resurgent Rangers’ remarkable start to the campaign.

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That has led to calls from many Hoops fans to pursue a January deal for Forster.

A permanent deal is almost out of the question as Forster’s Southampton contract is worth £5million a year, equivalent to just shy of £100,000-a-week.

Another loan is also unlikely as Ralph Hasenhuttl wants top-quality cover and competition for McCarthy after allowing Angus Gunn to join Stoke City on loan last month.

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 well-grooved playing style.

He has started all eight of the Saints’ Premier League matches this season as well as their one League Cup tie.

In other news, Agbonlahor can’t believe the Celtic claim from TalkSPORT colleague – “It’s ridiculous”.