Southampton Transfer Bid for Fraser Forster Could Pressure Joe Hart to Perform

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2014

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 11:  Fraser Forster of Celtic FC looks on  during the Champions League Group H match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on December 11, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Southampton's ability to spend money in the transfer market has been significantly improved by the sales of Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert this summer, and new manager Ronald Koeman has already spent part of that on incoming attackers Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle.

His next move seems to be to bulk up defensively, with BBC Sport reporting that the Saints had a "derisory" bid for Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster rejected by the SPL team.

While Southampton will, of course, be worried about their own continued progression, for Forster, it would represent the chance to display his talents on home territory, pushing his own hopes of an England international place.

That, combined with Manchester City recruiting Willy Caballero this summer, could make for an interesting push on Joe Hart's form and consistency.



Despite not managing to establish himself at Newcastle United, Forster has long been regarded as a promising 'keeper and has made a big name for himself north of the border with Celtic. He initially had a two-year loan spell there before making the move permanent in 2012.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 11:  Fraser Forster of Celtic FC hugs Neymar of FC Barcelona at the end of the Champions League Group H match between FC Barcelona and Celtic FC at Camp Nou on December 11, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty
David Ramos/Getty Images

He has played more than 30 times in European competition for the Scottish side, owing to their regular involvement in the Champions League, and produced some top-quality performances for them against big-name opposition.

Forster's style is a bit of a departure from the forward-thinking, though erratic nature of Artur Boruc; instead, the tall Englishman prefers to dominate the area around his six-yard box, staying close to his line and relying on agility and reflexes to make saves.

Being a big presence, he can claim crosses or set pieces which stray inside that area but is not particularly proactive in closing down spaces behind his defence.


Hart and City

Hart suffered at times over the past 12 months with dropping form, with Costel Pantilimon playing part of the season over Christmas as first choice. Despite reclaiming his place, Hart has not quite reached the impervious and impressive levels of 2012 and faces renewed competition this season.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 07:  Joe Hart of Manchester City reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Aston Villa at Etihad Stadium on May 7, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Pantilimon has departed, but Caballero is in, boss Manuel Pellegrini's first-choice 'keeper at Malaga.

An excellent performer in La Liga, Caballero will be expected to be No. 2 to start with no doubt, but if Hart is dropped once more by Pellegrini, don't expect it to be as easy to shift the Argentinian goalkeeper from the starting XI.



Hart is the clear standout first-choice goalkeeper for England's national team, largely as a result of lack of experience or quality but also because of low numbers of competition.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 11:  Joe Hart of England prepares to make a save as Fraser Forster (R) looks on during a training session at the Urca military base (Forte de Urca) training ground on June 11, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Richar
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

With John Ruddy relegated with Norwich and David Stockdale with Fulham, Ben Foster is the only English first-choice 'keeper in the top flight, other than Hart.

Forster coming into the Premier League would therefore add to Roy Hodgson's choices and would give onlookers the chance to stack up Forster's credentials of being first choice by way of his regular performances against the same opposition as his rivals.

It's a long stretch to suggest that Forster will establish himself as England No. 1 on the back of a good debut season, but with the Euro 2016 qualifiers just around the corner, he and Hart could certainly spur each other on to far better displays than national team fans have seen of late.