Premier League • England

Celtic prepare stunning Liverpool raid for ‘world class’ star that’ll demolish Scottish transfer record

Liverpool stars Caoimhin Kelleher, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez

Celtic have locked on to a Liverpool star recently labelled ‘world class’ for his heroics in the League Cup final, and any such move would likely smash the Scottish transfer record, according to a report.

Liverpool fought valiantly to sink Chelsea’s expensively-assembled squad at Wembley on Sunday and deliver what they hope is the first of four trophies this season.

Jurgen Klopp’s side got the job done without many of their household names in the squad. Indeed, the likes of Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara, Dominik Szoboszlai, Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah all missed out through injury.

The injury crisis allowed Liverpool’s fringe players and young guns to shine and not a single one disappointed.

In fact, back-up goalkeeper, Caoimhin Kelleher, can count himself a touch unfortunate to not scoop the man of the match award.

The prize ultimately went to Virgil van Dijk, though Kelleher’s heroics to keep Chelsea goalless were just as important as the Dutchman’s late winner.

Indeed, on the back of his outstanding display, Klopp labelled Kelleher the best back-up keeper in world football today.

Klopp and Van Dijk laud Kelleher

“We have the best goalkeeper in the world, and we have the best number two in the world,” declared Klopp.

Furthermore, Van Dijk described Liverpool’s ultra-reliable No 2 as “world class.”

“I have always said he is world class and he stepped up today, again. It’s good to see,” said Van Dijk.

“He’s a good boy, good goalkeeper and that’s what we need at a club like Liverpool.”

Kelleher, 25, has rarely let Liverpool down, though due to the presence of Alisson, may never become the true No 1 at Anfield.

Kelleher has attracted concrete transfer interest in the past, with Nottingham Forest the latest to attempt to prise the Ireland international out of Anfield.

Forest tabled a £15m bid for the stopper in January. Liverpool rejected the bid, with the Daily Mail claiming Kelleher is valued around the £20m mark.

Now, according to online outlet HITC, Liverpool should brace themselves for further interest in Kelleher.

Kelleher to replace Joe Hart at Celtic?

They state Scottish giant Celtic have settled on Kelleher as the man they want to replace Joe Hart. The ex-England international recently announced he’ll hang up his gloves and retire at season’s end.

Given Liverpool value Kelleher at £20m and rejected Forest’s £15m bid last month, it stands to reason any Kelleher to Celtic transfer would set a new Scottish record.

Tore Andre Flo from all the way back in 2000 remains Scottish football’s most expensive buy. The Norwegian joined Rangers from Chelsea for a reported £12m.

The obvious question to ask is can Celtic afford such a signing? Indeed, TEAMtalk has learned Celtic previously enquired into the signing of Kelleher, though aborted their chase when it became apparent his cost was beyond them.

That is something Brendan Rodgers’ side would have to wrestle with, though aged 25, Kelleher could conceivably be their starting goalkeeper for the next decade.

Kelleher is under contract at Anfield until the summer of 2026. As such, Liverpool aren’t under any significant pressure to cash in for below market value.

Ireland ambitions could help Celtic

Perhaps one avenue that could aid Celtic’s cause would be Kelleher pushing to leave Liverpool in the hopes of finally becoming a regular starter elsewhere.

When recently speaking to NBC, Kelleher admitted becoming Ireland’s undisputed No 1 is a topic on his mind.

Kelleher has split time with Southampton’s Gavin Bazunu over the past three years and could go on to decisively win that selection battle if featuring regularly at Celtic, or any club for that matter.

“Well, I think just at the moment, obviously, it’s been better this season playing a lot more games,” said Kelleher.

“So, I’m just trying to do as well as I can with those opportunities at the moment. I think that kind of goes hand in hand with international football.

“The better I do here at club level, the chances come more than at international level.

“So, I’ll just try, you know, to play really well here and then try to see what that brings at, you know, with Ireland.”

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