Southampton chasing Fraser Forster - but Celtic say Champions League ambitions come first

Southampton will need to make an improved offer for the Celtic keeper after their intial £3.5 million pound bid was rebuffed

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The Independent Football

Southampton are chasing Celtic’s England international goalkeeper Fraser Forster – but the success of their pursuit hinges on the Glasgow club’s progress in the Champions League.

Celtic play Legia Warsaw in a crucial Champions League qualifier on Wednesday, with the return leg scheduled for August 6 – and for the moment they appear determined to keep Forster.

“We want to keep Fraser because we want to qualify for the Champions League and build our team,” said Celtic manager Ronny Deila.

“We want to do what we can to keep him here.”

The south coast club have already made one bid for the keeper – their offer of £3.5 million was rejected last week and described as “derisory” by Celtic.

The Scottish champions are said to be determined to pocket at least £8 million for Forster, whom they signed from Newcastle United in 2012.

Forster was an unused substitute for England in Brazil

Under the tutelage of Neil Lennon the Hexham-born keeper developed into one of the best shot-stoppers in the British game. His performances earned a call-up from England for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil – though he did not play a game as understudy to Joe Hart.

Southampton have a dire need to reinvest quickly following the departures of a host of their key players.

Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren have departed in the direction of Anfield; Luke Shaw gained his mega-money move to Manchester United; the promising starlet Calum Chambers has been snapped up by Arsenal – and now Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin appear to be on the verge of signing for Spurs.