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Last Updated: 06/07/20 12:04pm
Neil Lennon admits he is moving his hunt for a new Celtic goalkeeper on to fresh targets after talks with Fraser Forster turned quiet.
The Celtic boss revealed a deal had been struck with Southampton which would have seen the Englishman return to Parkhead to help the Hoops in their quest for 10 titles in a row.
But there has so far been little indication from the 32-year-old former England stopper that he is keen on the move.
Now Lennon – who has been linked with Joe Hart and former Hoops ‘keeper David Marshall – confirmed he is ready to look at other candidates.
He told Sky Sports News: “We are looking at other options. There was a deal [for Forster] agreed between the clubs but it’s gone quiet from the player’s side of things.
“We would dearly love him back here but if that’s not going to be the case then we’ll look elsewhere.
“We’re looking at a number of options on the goalkeeping front. It’s such an important position and Fraser did wonderful things for us last season.
“We’ve got big gloves to fill if you want to put it that way but ideally we’ll try to get an exceptional number one in again.”
As well as Forster, Celtic have also seen Craig Gordon, Jordan Simunovic, Eboue Kouassi and Jonny Hayes depart since the Scottish Premiership was prematurely curtailed due to the coronavirus crisis.
Forster’s Southampton team-mate Mohamed Elyounoussi has, however, signed on for another season-long loan spell.
But Lennon admits the current closed-door restrictions are frustrating his attempts to sniff out fresh recruits.
“It’s different,” he said. “A bit fragmented obviously.
“We’ll probably get a fairer idea of the transfer market once the Premier League and other main leagues in Europe finish.
“But it’s been predominantly business as usual. We’ve got a lot of options for a lot of positions.
“The difficult thing is we can’t look at players live at the minute.
“A lot of [the scouting] is being done with analysis and stats, whereas ideally you’d like to see a player and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
“But that’s the only difference and there’s been a mountain of work done from the recruitment side of things.
“We’ve got Mo Elyounoussi back which is a big plus for us so there’s a continuity there and we’ll look to add one or two to the group.”
Neil Lennon says he is expecting a “big season” for Celtic as the Scottish champions chase a historic 10th successive title.
Lennon’s side were crowned nine-in-a-row champions last season when the campaign was curtailed prematurely by the coronavirus crisis and Celtic set off in search of another record-breaking triumph when they start the new campaign at Hamilton Academical on August 2, live on Sky Sports.
“We’re very excited. We’ve got to just take it as the next title really,” the Celtic boss told Sky Sports News.
“For some of the players that will come it will be the first, for some it will be the 10th, but we have to keep a balance and just say ‘look this is the next challenge to win’.
“It’s great to have the players back the last few weeks and preparations have been going well.
“We’ve been going through all the protocols and everything that has been asked of us as a club. So we’re excited. It’s a big season for us domestically and on the European front as well.