GLASGOW SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Referee Callum Murray sends off Fraser Forster of Celtic during the Scottish Cup 5th round match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on February 6 2011 in Glasgow Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Newcastle have once again sent 23 year-old goalkeeper Fraser Forster to Celtic on a season-long loan, this time with "a view to a permanent move." (Sky Sports) Forster spent last season with the Scottish Premier League side, leading the league in several goalkeeping categories, but still does not seem to have a place with Newcastle as Tim Krul, also 23, has apparently taken over the reins from longtime starter Steve Harper. Neil Lennon tried to pry Forster away from the Magpies this summer with a failed £1.5 million bid, but will still be able to retain his services for the majority of the SPL campaign.
This move makes a whole lot of sense for both sides. Forster has impressed many with his raw skills, but hasn't been able to put together a legitimate challenge for a spot on Tyneside. His howler at Elland Road this preseason seemed to cement his status as the #3 choice. Since there's no need to let him languish on the bench, why not send him back to familiar surroundings to let him develop even further? Even if he does approach his ceiling as a keeper, the presence of Krul makes Forster fairly redundant, so it wouldn't be a huge loss if Celtic did end up buying him at the end of the season.
Then again, who is going to back Harper up if and when he finally retires? The current in-house option would be the uninspiring Ole Soderberg. Of course, since it's August, there are already reports that Alan Pardew is seeking a new goaltender, but that seems unlikely. (The Chronicle) For now, Newcastle gets a tiny bit of wage relief for an asset they weren't going to use, and if that's what it takes to bring in Erik Pieters, for example, then this move is a win all the way around.