Rodgers could land Hart upgrade as Celtic eye swoop for £2.1m titan

The January transfer window has now been open for over two weeks and Celtic appear set to enjoy a busy couple of weeks as they prepare to make several new signings.

Football Insider recently reported that the Scottish giants would like to end the month with four new players to bolster their current playing squad.

Scottish Premiership top six (via Sofascore)



Matches played


















St Mirren








They are closing in on a £2.8m deal to sign Rapid Wien forward Nicolas Kuhn as the first of those four additions to improve the depth on the wing.

The Bhoys are also in the market to land a left-back, a centre-forward, and a new goalkeeper to provide Brendan Rodgers with the best chance of having a successful second half of the campaign.

Celtic’s search for a new goalkeeper

A new number one is on the agenda for the Northern Irish head coach this month and the Hoops have now been linked with a swoop for a young stopper.

According to the Dr. Football Podcast in Iceland, Celtic are interested in a deal to sign Elfsborg goalkeeper Hákon Valdimarsson before the end of the window.

They state that the Scottish side are one of a number of teams keen on the talented young shot-stopper, who they describe as being ‘highly rated’.


Anderlecht and Gent are two of the other clubs looking at a possible deal for the Iceland international but they are not prepared to match the asking price at this time.

Elfsborg are said to want a fee in the region of €2.5m (£2.1m) and have already rejected one offer from Belgian side Gent for an unknown fee.

It remains unclear if the Hoops are able or willing to pay around £2.1m to sign Valdimarsson or if it is a target that may have to wait until the summer transfer window.

Current Celtic number one Joe Hart is out of contract at the end of the season and it remains to be seen whether or not either party are willing to extend his stay at Parkhead.

The club’s eagerness to sign another goalkeeper suggests that they are looking to the future, whether that means they want a number one immediately or the future remains to be seen, beyond the former England international.

Hart’s Celtic career in numbers

Celtic signed Hart on a permanent deal from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur ahead of the 2021/22 campaign during Ange Postecoglou’s first season in charge.

The former Manchester City star enjoyed a terrific debut campaign in Scottish football as he hit the ground running with a string of fantastic performances in the Scottish Premiership.


He played 35 of the club’s 38 top-flight matches in his first season and kept an eye-catching 19 clean sheets to go along with a save success rate of 73%.

This shows that opposition teams found it hard to get past Celtic’s defence and the English titan as they romped their way to the league title.

However, his save success rate dropped to 65% throughout the 2022/23 Premiership campaign and is currently at 67% this season under Rodgers, which shows that the veteran shot-stopper’s form has declined since his debut year in Scotland.

Hart vs Champions League goalkeepers (via FBref)

23/24 Champions League (per 90)

Percentile rank

Post-shot xG minus goals allowed (-0.28)

Bottom 14%

Goals against (2.5)

Bottom 7%

Crosses stopped (1.2%)

Bottom 20%

Defensive actions outside penalty area (0.17)

Bottom 13%

Average distance of defensive actions (5.9 yards)

Bottom 1%

As you can see in the table above, Hart has been a poor performer in Europe for Celtic with his struggles in several key areas of goalkeeping.

He underperformed as a shot-stopper in comparison to the post-shot xG value of the efforts on his goal, which means that the experienced dud let in far more than the average goalkeeper would be expected to.

Hart also ranked lowly as a sweeper and when it came to collecting crosses, which also meant that he did not take the pressure off his defence very often.

Celtic could land a big upgrade on the former England international by securing a £2.1m deal to sign Valdimarsson from Elfsborg before the end of the window.

He has caught the eye with his sublime performances in Sweden since the start of the 2022 season and his displays for Elfsborg suggest that the potential is there for him to offer more for the Hoops than Hart currently does.

During the 2023 campaign, Valdimarsson started 29 Allsvenskan matches for his side and enjoyed a superb save success rate of 77% to go along with 13 clean sheets, which suggests that the quality is there for him to keep out far more shots than Celtic’s current stopper.

Vs Portugal (19/11/23)

Valdimarsson (via Sofascore)

Goals conceded




High claims


Saves inside the box


Save success rate


Duel success rate


Sofascore rating


Elfsborg’s young titan showcased his quality on the international stage for Iceland earlier this term with an impressive display against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes in a European Championship qualifier, which suggests that he can step up and perform against top-quality opposition.

The 22-year-old colossus, who was hailed as having “great potential” by manager Jimmy Thelin, also played 14 top-flight games throughout the 2022 season and saved 73% of the shots on his goal to earn himself four clean sheets.

He has also been a proactive goalkeeper who can come off his line to help out his defence with 1.0 successful run-outs per game in 2023 across his 29 league outings.


Meanwhile, Hart has completed 0.3 successful run-outs per match across all three of his Premiership seasons for Celtic to date, which suggests that he does not provide as much relief for his backline when balls are played over the top or down the sides of the centre-backs into the space between them and the goalkeeper.

Therefore, Valdimarrson could arrive at Parkhead as a big upgrade on the current Hoops number one if he can translate his performances in Sweden over to Scottish football, which his exceptional display against Portugal suggests he has the quality to do.

At the age of 22, he could also be a superb signing for the future as the Elfsborg star is a staggering 14 years younger than Hart and has plenty of time left ahead of him to be Rodgers’ long-term shot-stopper.

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