Celtic’s Chase For Croatian Goalkeeper Turns Into Childish ‘Will He, Won’t He’

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With manager Steve Clarke’s 2024 European Championship dreams over for the Scottish national side, those in the Celtic faithful no longer have any kind of distractions that stop them from pouring over the summer transfer window rumour mill (well, unless you like tennis of course?).

One of the biggest stories that Bhoys fans have know that gaffer Brendan Rodgers needed to address this summer was the goalkeeping position at Parkhead following on from Joe Hart’s previously announced decision to hang up his gloves and retire from the professional game, and there have long been preferred favourites when it came to the speculation, not least Fenerbahce stopper Dominik Livakovic and Newcastle United’s experienced goalie, Martin Dubravka and it could be interesting to see what sites not covered by GamStop may think about either of these deals coming off.

It has long been claimed by some that 57 capped Croatian international Livakovic has always been our main target, and a move for the 29 year old would strike that balance of better experience plus a greater set of years left in the tank than an older stopper would obviously have.

Reports this week though have been slightly confusing, to say the least, at best. The No 1 is currently out with his country at the European Championships, but the first raft of reports said that we had been knocked back in firmer, early moves, as his parent Turkish club have again failed to get their preferred potential replacement over the line.

Now, even if the reports are correct as it pertains to him being our top target in that department for the summer, it is highly unlikely that we are overly forcing the issue right now as the player himself will have placed a pause on most things himself until his own countries European dreams either come to fruition, or are over – they are incidentally now over as they have been knocked out.

Prior to their game on Monday against Italy, he might well have been mulling his future over at the back of his head, but it is not going to spend much time at the front until the competition was over – as there is nothing wrong with a selfish point of view, and the most he has probably been thinking about so far is that the better he, and Croatia did, the better negotiating position he would be in if his stock were to rise further…full stop.

Give or take an hour or two, other reports were claiming that we had now had a firm bid accepted for the player as Fenerbahce are resigned to losing him this summer anyway, and even though no replacement is yet lined up or guaranteed for them, they would rather just get the deal done and bank what was claimed to be a 9 million Euro (£7.6 million) offer from Parkhead and Rodgers.

With his country being knocked out of the tournament on Monday evening, I very much disbelieve that by Tuesday he was thinking about anything other than his summer holiday, where he could then quietly and slowly think through whatever options he may well have on the table.

And lo and behold, a couple of hours later there were reports absolutely trashing the suggestions that we had agreed a firm transfer fee with them. They also went further, and politely implied that no talks had been held at all, every report was ‘completely false’ and that there was no chance of the player ever rocking up at Celtic Park this summer.

As ever at this time of year, ‘in the shirt and on the pitch’ is the only thing that any fan (of any club in fairness) should ever believe.

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