Celtic boss Neil Lennon reveals transfer plans, goalkeeper interest and going for 10

The Scottish champions are heading to France for pre-season next week

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has admitted the club are currently looking at “other options” in the goalkeeping department.

The club have a deal agreed with Southampton for Fraser Forster’s return but the player is yet to commit to a move back north.

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It has left Celtic with little choice but to explore other avenues with regards to the No.1 position with Scott Bain left as the club’s first-team goalkeeper following Craig Gordon’s exit.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has spoken on Fraser Forster and the fixture list. Picture: SNS

“We are looking at other options,” Lennon told Sky Sport. “There is a deal agreed between both of the clubs and it’s gone quiet from the player’s side of things.

“Like everything else, we would dearly love him back here, but if that is not going to be the case, we will look elsewhere. We are looking at a number of options on the goalkeeping front, but it’s such an important position.

“Fraser did wonderful things for us last season and there are big gloves to fill, if you want to put it that way. So, ideally, we’ll try to get an exceptional No.1 in again.”

Recruitment analysis and stats

The transfer market has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and also the resumption of leagues around European, especially the Premier League and Championship in England.

Celtic have already brought back Mohamed Elyounoussi but there isn't likely to be a surge in movement until the 2019/20 campaigns have finished elsewhere.

It has resulted in clubs having to adapt and improvise, leaning more on analysis and stats.

Lennon said: “It’s different. It’s a bit fragmented and we won’t probably get a fair idea of the transfer market until the [English] Premier League finishes and the other main leagues in Europe.But it’s been predominantly business as usual. We’ve got a lot of options for a lot of positions and the difficult thing is we can’t look at players live at the minute.

“A lot of it is being done with analysis and stats, but you like to go and see a player and see his strengths and weaknesses.

“That’s the only difference really. There’s been a mountain of work done in the background from the recruitment side of things and, obviously, we got Mo Elyounoussi signed and that’s a big plus for us, so there’s a continuity there.”

Challenge to win

Celtic, who head to France for a pre-season camp next week, will start their question for their 10 league title in a row at home to Hamilton Accies in front of the Sky cameras on Sunday, 2 August, but will have to wait until the middle of October and the 11th fixture for the first Old Firm clash.

“Hopefully, by September, October time, we may get permission to get punters in through the doors and that would be fantastic because while it is great to see football back, it’s just not the same without the supporters,” Lennon said.

“We have got to just take it as the next title, really. For some of the players who will come in, it will be their first. For some, they will be going for their tenth.

“But we have to keep a balance and say it’s the next one. The next challenge to win.

“There is going to be a lot of hype surrounding it, but we just have to find our levels and find our consistency as quickly as we possibly can. It is monumental what we are going for, but we can’t let that distract us from actually playing the games. We can’t look too far ahead.”

He added: “We are looking to improve as individuals and as a group. That’s the incentive for us and there is a huge motivation for the players going into the season on a domestic front and we have Champions League qualifiers to look forward to in August, so that’s a big push from our point of view to try and qualify for that.

“There is a new norm and it’s something we’ve been preparing for for a few weeks. You never really get a barometer on where we are until the games start.

“But I think in terms of the pre-season games next week, we’ll have a fair idea of what we have to do to improve the team for the start of the season.”

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