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McGowan names German based Celtic goalkeeping target

Celtic have been credited with an interest in signing Koen Casteels, now out of contract after seven seasons as the first choice goalkeeper at Wolfsburg.

At the age of 31 the Belgian is at a good age for a goalkeeper and has been heavily linked with a move to Anderlecht.

A different goalkeeper is being linked with Celtic every couple of days, when Stephen McGowan of the Daily Mail puts his name to a report it carries more substance than usual.

As a free agent Casteels will be in the thoughts of a number of clubs, since February Celtic have known of Joe Hart’s upcoming retirement which should give them a head start in the task of recruiting a suitable replacement. At 6 foot 5 Casteels cuts an imposing figure.

Brendan Rodgers and Stevie Woods are likely to be in charge of identifying Hart’s replacement which should avoid the embarrassment of last summer when Mark Lawwell lined up seven project signings who contributed virtually nothing as Celtic stormed to the title by taking 25 points from their last nine matches.

Late on Monday night on the Daily Mail website McGowan reported:

Celtic have added Belgian international goalkeeper Koen Casteels to a list of potential replacements for Joe Hart.

Hart will bring his playing career to an end after the Parkhead side face Rangers in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday.

With the newly-crowned champions seeking a replacement for the former England No1, free agent Casteels has emerged as an option despite holding talks with Anderlecht over a return to Belgium from Germany.

The 31-year-old made his final appearance for Wolfsburg in a home defeat to Mainz on Saturday, waving an emotional farewell to fans after nine seasons and 275 appearances with the Bundesliga club.

Capped eight times by his country, Anderlecht’s hopes of luring Casteels home suffered a blow when defeat to Club Brugge at the weekend all but ended their hopes of winning the Pro League and securing automatic qualification for the Champions League.

Casteels declined to confirm or deny any interest from Celtic when contacted by Mail Sport.

Speaking after his final game for Wolfsburg, however, he told the club website: ‘I don’t have a new club yet. We’ve already held initial talks but it’s not 100 per cent certain which club I’ll be playing for next season.’

From McGowan’s report it seems that being a free agent is one of the key attractions about Casteels. Free agents tend to come with bigger wage demands, they know their value.

Events of the last few seasons have illustrated that you can’t take short-cuts with a Celtic goalkeeper, there are reasonable arguments to be made that it is the most important position in the team. Hart is the evidence for that.

A commanding goalkeeper brings the entire defence together, they are left in no doubt about what their roles are, there is no ambiguity.

In the extended close season of 2020 Peter Lawwell decided to offer Craig Gordon a vastly reduced contract then pulled out of negotiations to retain Fraser Forster on loan despite the keeper returning to Lennoxtown for pre-season training.

Incoming arrived in the underwhelming figure of Vasilas Barkas, costing £4m on a four year contract and wholly unsuited to Celtic. His relative success at Utrecht underlines the special characteristics needed at Celtic.

Two years ago Ben Siegrist arrived as a free agent from Dundee United, two Celtic managers later he is still waiting for his SPFL debut, this season he made it onto the bench once.

CLICK HERE for Casteels’ Transfermarkt profile.

CLICK HERE for two faced Keevins makes remarkable Rodgers u-turn

CLICK HERE for Santa Ponsa celebrates Celtic’s victory in the Glasgow Derby.


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