Al-Ahli hand transfer blow to Celtic in £7.5 million race

Al-Ahli Saudi v Al-Hazm - Saudi Pro League
Al-Ahli Saudi v Al-Hazm - Saudi Pro League / Yasser Bakhsh/GettyImages

As Celtic continue their search for a replacement for Joe Hart there’s a potential twist which could rule out one prospect to fill the Englishman's gloves next season. With the 36-year-old retiring at the end of the campaign and both Scott Bain and Benjamin Siegrist seemingly out of contention for the number one spot, the Hoops need to recruit smartly in the summer.

Plans seem to be already in place to identify a list of potential targets. Recent reports have added Michael Zetterer of Werder Bremen to that list. He joins the likes of Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher, Ugurcan Cakir of Trabzonspor and a few more as goalkeepers the club are believed to hold an interest in. 

Of course, a lot can and will change over the coming weeks and months before next season arrives. But already there are signs that the list will need to be extended.

Kelleher, for example, looks likely to be already out of Celtic's reach with his current run of first-team appearances for Liverpool. And Cakir could be headed in that same direction.

Al-Ahli hand transfer blow to Celtic in £7.5 million race

Rumours recently suggested strong activity from Celtic regarding Cakir. It was believed that the club were ready to shell out a £7.5 million fee for him but Trabzonspor wanted a figure closer to €15 million for their captain. 

Celtic might not have much time or scope to negotiate and bring that fee down either. As reported by Football Scotland, Al-Ahli have now entered the race for Cakir and lodged an enquiry with the Super Lig side. German boss Matthias Jaissle is a fan of the Turkish goalkeeper.

Of course, Celtic do not have the financial strength to compete with clubs like Al-Ahli. But we also have to bear in mind that the football there hasn't developed as significantly as expected.  Some of the high-profile signings are backing away already, like Jordan Henderson moving quickly to Ajax after his move earlier in the season to Al-Ettifaq.

As a result, many footballers might want to remain in Europe if they are keen on top-level success and competition. Celtic, with that to offer, could yet retain an advantage in any discussions with Cakir.