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Southampton’s swoop for Celtic star Fraser Forster stalls

Southampton, 11/8 for a top 10 finish, have seen their bid for England international goalkeeper Fraser Forster rejected by Celtic, but new Saints boss Ronald Koeman is still set to continue recruitment drive.

Hoops number one Forster is wanted at St Mary’s to provide competition for former Celtic stopper, Artur Boruc, who only has one year left on his contract.

It is believed Southampton’s offer, apparently substantially lower than the reported figure of £7.5m, was way below anything the Hoops would consider an acceptable offer.

Forster arrived at Celtic Park from Newcastle United in 2012, after impressing during two seasons on loan at the Glasgow club, for a fee of around £2m. The Hexam-born goalkeeper has made 195 appearances for the Hoops, with his fine form earning two England caps, and a call-up to Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad.

Whilst the 6ft 7in stopper was the only player not to make an appearance in Brazil, his stock is higher than ever, particularly after his escapades last campaign, when he broke the Scottish league record for minutes played without conceding.

As a key player for Celtic, especially in the Champions League, Hoops boss Ronny Deila has revealed he “want[s] to keep Fraser”, but did admit “something will happen in the end”.

Deila has already snapped up former Sunderland and Scotland stopper Craig Gordon on a two-year contract, although the ex-Hearts star has been injury prone, with a knee problem preventing him from making a competitive start for two years.

Celtic eventually sold midfield enforcer Victor Wanyama to Southampton last term, and coach Koeman has been linked with another raid on the Glasgow giants, for Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk. The centre back, who has also apparently attracted interest from Newcastle, certainly did his chances of a summer switch no harm, after bagging a brace in Celtic’s Champions League qualifier with KR Reykjavick.

Koeman’s compatriot Van Dijk could be a potential replacement for wantaway defender Dejan Lovren, who is coveted by Premier League giants Liverpool. The Saints look set to miss out on their other centre back targets, though, with Cardiff talent Steven Caulker having signed for QPR, and Aston Villa insisting Netherlands international Ron Vlaar is not for sale.

Southampton, 6/1 to be relegated this season, have already swooped for exciting attacking midfielder Dusan Tadic, and Feyenoord forward Graziano Pelle. Koeman still needs to reinforce the St Mary’s squad, though, following the departures of England trio Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw.

Saints are also rumoured to be close to luring Lazio and Nigeria midfielder Ogenyi Onazi to the south coast, but would have to stave-off competition from a host of Premier League clubs. Dutch World Cup star Jordy Clasie, who was strongly linked with joining Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, is also believed to be a target.