FRASER Forster looks set to report back for pre-season training with Newcastle United when they return from their summer holidays next week.
But boss Alan Pardew admits the goalkeeper is still set to quit the Sports Direct Arena in his search for first-team football.
Forster has spent the last two seasons on loan at Celtic, where he has played almost 70 times, including helping the Old Firm giants to the Scottish Premier League title.
Hoops boss Neil Lennon has been keen on bringing the 24-year-old to Parkhead on a permanent deal, with Newcastle and Celtic having already agreed a £2m fee for his services, but so far Forster has failed to put pen to paper on the move.
He is believed to be holding out to see whether an English club come in for him, but while Southampton are reportedly interested in his services, there has been no other concrete bids.
“At the moment he is coming back to us,” admitted Magpies manager Pardew.
“He will be with us until he finds a club and we find a fee that works for us.”
Forster was shipped out on loan by Pardew last summer after the Newcastle boss evaluated his goalkeeping options during pre-season.
Pardew made Dutch star Tim Krul his No1, and with veteran Steve Harper adding back-up, he felt he could allow Forster to join Celtic for the season.
Krul’s fantastic form – he kept 15 clean sheets last season – and the signing of Rob Elliott from Charlton as further back-up alongside Harper means that Forster is seen as surplus to requirements, despite shining in Scotland.
“It’s one area that we are well stocked in,” admitted Pardew. “But it’s a moving feast.”
Forster, from Hexham, has never made a first-team appearance for Newcastle. He spent a season on loan at Norwich in 2009/10 under Paul Lambert, keeping 20 clean sheets and winning the club’s Player’s Player of the Season award as the Canaries won League One.