According to renowned journalist Fabrizio Romano, Celtic have opened talks with Swedish centre-half Carl Starfelt over a potential summer transfer. They are set to table an opening bid for the Rubin Kazan star and are close to making him the first marquee signing of Ange Postecoglou era, the Record Sport understands.
Celtic are in direct contact to negotiate personal terms with Swedish centre back Carl Starfelt as potential Ajer replacement. Opening bid set to be made to Rubin Kazan and talks now started. ⚪️🟢 #Celtic #RubinKazan
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 6, 2021
The 26-year-old completed a £720,000 move to Kazan from IFK Göteborg a couple of summers ago. He was not handed an instant first-team status in Russia and had to wait until March 2020 to make his league debut. A headstrong display against Tambov soon cemented his starting role in the heart of the backline.
The emergence of Starfelt did not go unnoticed as he earned his senior Sweden debut back in October versus Russia. He was regular last season in the Red-Greens defence and got rewarded with a new contract to extend his stay until summer 2024. With wantaway Kristoffer Ajer set to part ways amid interest from top European leagues, Romano views Starfelt as the potential replacement for the fellow Scandanavian.
What Celtic Would Gain By Roping In Starfelt?
Starfelt does not have Ajer’s ball-carrying or heading attributes, but his quick passing technique, accuracy as well as composure in deep defence make him a reliable alternative to the Norwegian. Although right-footed, the Blågult professional is comfortable in both the central defensive roles.
While the likes of Stephen Welsh and Christopher Jullien are likely to be rotated on the right-hand side of a two-man central defence, Starfelt should slot in down the left as he has featured at Kazan alongside Filip Uremovic. He might have failed to make the cut in Janne Andersson’s EURO 2020 squad, we expect to see the centre-back more often in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
A squad rebuild is in progress at Parkhead under Postecoglou with an array of key departures on the cards. Both Osaze Urhoghide and Liam Shaw are welcome addition from Sheffield Wednesday for the promises exhibited in the English second tier, however, the pair might have to wait before staking a claim in the manager’s first-team plan. A sporadic status would help them attune to the demands of the Scottish game, whereas the expectation would be much higher from Starfelt considering his reputation in Russian football.