Celtic have been encouraged to be creative in the transfer market this summer with an obvious opportunity presenting itself in recent days.
Former Premier League striker, Noel Whelan, has backed the Hoops to entertain the idea of a swap deal between Olivier Ntcham and Fraser Forster in an interview with Football Insider.
So what has Whelan said?
After speculation of interest in Ntcham from Southampton emerged this week, Whelan spoke on the possibility of Celtic accepting Forster in exchange:
“I think that would be a good deal.
“Forster has had a fantastic time up there. You could see how important and influential he was to Celtic last season.
“It is very difficult to find goalkeepers like Forster. There are not many out there who have that experience and that presence but he is one of them.
“I would be open to that swap deal. It is crucial that Celtic cover that base.
“I am sure there are plenty of Premier League clubs that have seen his performances last season. I even think he was close to an England call up again.
“It is also clear that he loves the club.”
So is Whelan correct?
He is also replaceable from within the squad, Ryan Christie and Tom Rogic are more than capable of operating in the number ten role utilised in Neil Lennon’s preferred 3-5-2 formation so it is a matter of valuation and priorities for the Hoops gaffer.
Celtic’s defence has been formidable this season and Forster almost single handedly – so to speak – won his side the league cup final with a series of stunning stops against Rangers, demonstrating his importance to the side and the fine margins between winning and losing.
Ntcham is said to be valued at around the £12million mark by Celtic and with Forster likely to commend a similar fee, the maths is pretty simple.
For all that fans of the champions would be sorry to see such a talented player depart their club, the signing of the Great Wall would more than make up for it as Lennon identifies squad stability as he looks forward to one of the most important seasons in the club’s history.